Episodes

  • On today’s episode, we get to have a discussion with the authority on quality leadership, Carey Nieuwhof. When he was a young man working at a law firm, Carey had a vision that he was supposed to be a pastor. Following that calling led him to become a founder of Connexus, now one of the most influential churches in North America. Carey has been an instrument of change that has helped the church evolve drastically over time to better serve its community, and has since found his passion for helping leaders all over the globe thrive and become the best versions of themselves. In this episode, Carey walks us through what to do when we get burned out, exhausted, and life seemingly falls apart. How do we recover from that in a way that helps us become exceptional leaders? How do we learn to balance each important element of our lives, each of which seem to demand too much from us? Carey discusses the difficulties of establishing boundaries in today’s ever-connected world, how to build better relationships with people, and how to live in a way that will help us prosper tomorrow.

    Links, Products and Resources Mentioned:

    Carey Nieuwhof

    Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast

    “Didn’t See It Coming: Overcoming the Seven Challenges that No One Expects and Everyone Sees” book

    Connexus Church

    Osgoode Hall Law School

    The Genesee Diary: Report from a Trappist Monastery

    History of the Eagles Documentary

    Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

    Andy Stanley

    Lysa Terkeurst

    Archibald D. Hart, Ph.D., FPPR

    ”Necessary Endings: The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Move Forward” book

    *This episode discusses suicide. If you or a loved one are experiencing thoughts of suicide, there is free and confidential support for you. Call the National Suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255 to receive prevention and crisis resources.

    Interview Quotes:

    “Andrew Steen, a physicist at Cambridge and a person of faith, talks about how physics informs the way that we think about God and theology; and in the 17th century Newtonian physics, the universe is like a giant machine. So thinking about God and His sovereignty in a pretty mechanical way kinds of made sense. Everything is cause and effect. Now with the law of indeterminacy, reality looks so much different and [Steen] says it actually fits the story of the Bible better because the God of the Bible is a God of improvisation.”
    —John Ortberg

    “When you're on the outside looking in, or you're 25 years old, you think, Oh, all these successful people, they're successful because they don't have any struggles right there.They're just really gifted, really talented. They work hard,they hustle and therefore they succeed—and they must not have the struggles that I have. They don't get tired. They don't argue with their spouse.They don't struggle with identity or purpose or any of that. I've had the great privilege over the last decade plus of meeting a lot of the people I used to read or admire or listen to. And you realize, when you get to know them as people, they've all got that story. And one of the ones that almost everyone moves into is the end of what they can accomplish.”
    —Carey Nieuwhof, on our perception of others

    “Most people, if they don’t have a burnout story, there is a pivot that happens where they really, really struggle with, with the limits of what they can do.”
    —Carey Nieuwhof, on life’s essential moments

    “I think one of the traps that got me was, Oh, so working for God must earn me points of some kind. And, oh, to not work harder is probably unfaithfulness. And so all through my thirties I cheated my family. And as our church grew, more people equals more hours, and more success equals more accolades. And I was winning church, but losing at home. And I realized when you're winning at church and losing at home, you're losing. That is a temporary victory, an empiric victory, an empty victory. But it's not really a victory.”
    —Carey Nieuwhof, on untangling his job from his personal faith

    “I think technology has made [life balance] more complicated because we're never really on and we're never really off anymore. You know, the office is something we used to go to and now the office goes to us. And that is really difficult because as a CEO or as a founder or an entrepreneur or a pastor, you've got 11 inboxes and you're available 24/7, and this device that you're using to figure out where you're going to go for dinner with your wife is the same device that your team is emailing you on.”
    —Carey Nieuwhof, on having life balance

    “By the time this race is over, I want the people closest to me to be the people who are most grateful for me. I want [my] relationships to be healthy, and good, and real, and the friendships deep, and the team that I actually work with day to day and have to put up with me day to day to want to work with me day to day.”
    —Carey Nieuwhof, on relationships with others

    “We are designed to be fully known by God and by a handful of others.”
    —Carey Nieuwhof

    “Let God go deep—go deep into whatever this dysfunction is, or this season is—go deep. Because if God wants to go deep, it's because He wants to take you far.”
    —Carey Nieuwhof

    “We just get used to mediocre living. We get used to living drained or with a lack of motivation, or inspiration, or elevation, or a dream. And nobody sets out for that. Nobody says, ‘I want to live a life where I'm exhausted or tired or not inspired.’ We just get used to it.”
    —John Ortberg

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    Connect with John Ortberg

    John Ortberg website

    Twitter

    Instagram

    Facebook

  • Habitat for Humanity CEO Jonathan Reckford is committed to solving the problems so many people face when it comes to affordable housing. After years of successfully working at for-profit companies like Disney and Marriott, Jonathan decided to shift careers as he desired to become more of a “servant leader.” Accepting the job as CEO of Habitat in 2005, Jonathan began to look closely at the issues surrounding the housing crisis that ballooned in 2008 during the economic crash, and found himself asking new questions about how to measure success—the quantity of houses being built had been the goal, but being meaningfully involved in reducing the housing deficits in the geographies Habitat served needed to be the new focus. Since Jonathan’s tenure, Habitat has re-navigated how they help people (to the tune of 9 million served per year) and aside from building homes, they pursue true social change by touching on education, financial management, and vocation as part of their services. Jonathan gives us a personal glimpse into what can happen when we focus on creating solutions over being driven by pride or ego and implores us, much like Habitat’s most well-known benefactor, President Jimmy Carter, said in his famous speech: to defer to the “better angels of our nature.”

    Links, Products and Resources Mentioned:

    Jonathan Reckford

    Habitat for Humanity International

    Our Better Angels book

    Goldman Sachs

    Disneyland

    Circuit City

    CarMax

    Musicland in Minneapolis, MN

    Hurricane Katrina

    Jimmy Carter, former US President

    Jack Kemp, former Congressman & HUD Secretary

    The Henry Luce Foundation

    Envestnet.com

    Interview Quotes:

    “A big question that changed for us was “How many houses can we build?” which had been our core metric, to “What would it take to meaningfully reduce the housing deficit in all the geographies we serve?” [This] is a scarier question because, essentially, it forces you to think about changing markets and policies.”

    – Jonathan Reckford

    “We only have one world. And not to understand the impact if we all take some action in a local community—that cumulative impact of individuals choosing to act is what really creates social change over time.”

    – Jonathan Reckford

    “When I was focused on solving a problem, or creating something, or building something, or growing something, then good things would just unfold and the next thing would show up. The more I tried to over-manage—and particularly over-manage when I was driven more by pride, or ego, or success—the worse things went.”

    – Jonathan Reckford



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    Connect with John Ortberg

    John Ortberg website

    Twitter

    Instagram

    Facebook

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  • Communications expert Nancy Duarte is the global leader behind some of the most influential visual messages in business and culture. As CEO of Duarte, Inc., Nancy helps leaders and companies find their voices—through presentation development, speaker coaching, and communication strategy. Nancy’s journey to the moment she realized that “stories” are our most effective communication tool came from being vulnerable with her own story. Faced with potentially having to shut the doors of her own business during the dot com bust of 2001, Nancy allowed authenticity and vulnerability to guide her steps through rebuilding and refocusing on what she did best—helping people navigate and tell their own stories with that same authenticity and vulnerability. John and Nancy discuss how we all long to be part of a great story, but that the only way “great stories” are born is by living in what Nancy calls the “messy middle.” They show us although we can’t guarantee our stories will turn out exactly as we’d like, when we hold on to deeper values and honor others, they may turn out better than we ever imagined.

    Links, Products and Resources Mentioned:

    Nancy Duarte

    Duarte, Inc.

    Nancy Duarte TEDx talk

    Cisco

    UCLA

    Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth

    Joseph Campbell, The Hero’s Journey

    George MacDonald, Thomas Wingfold

    Abraham Lincoln Second Inaugural Speech reference



    Interview Quotes:

    “In life, we're constantly in the messy middle. You fail. You try. You get the girl, you lose, or you get bitten. And what's fascinating is the part that a lot of people don't realize is that in storytelling, the hero or the protagonist is on an inner journey and an outer journey.”

    – Nancy Duarte

    “I looked at the rise and fall—the rise of tension and release of it—the cathartic release of story. I really studied—is there a rise and fall to great presentation? That's when I made the structural discovery that the greatest communicators use this, and that tension is built by painting a picture of the current status quo, and then this picture of a future reality—and the brain is programmed to understand [that] contrast.”

    – Nancy Duarte

    “We love landing home, and there's something about home that is comfortable and safe. So that's part of the arc of a story. You start in your ordinary world, you go into a special world, and then you come back to your ordinary world with gifts and tools and skills you didn't have that you get to use back in your ordinary world. So it's a lot about transforming and coming home changed.”

    – Nancy Duarte

    “The thing about telling a story that's inconclusive, and it's not done yet, is you give the audience [the choice] to jump into your story and help make it a happy ending.”

    – Nancy Duarte

    “The sensing parts of your brain, every sensing part of your brain fires when a story is being told, and it doesn't do that with any other communication medium. Also, while you're listening to a story, your critical and analytical mind is suspended, and you'll be opened up to things that you may not have believed or considered before. There's so many things that happen in the human brain while a story's being told.”

    – Nancy Duarte

    “I try to make a way for people to have human flourishing and a way for people to develop into something they never thought they could believe or become, because that's what happened to me. I feel like, God, if I could do this, God, anybody could do this.

    – Nancy Duarte

    “In life, we're constantly in the messy middle. The hero is always on both an outer journey and an inner journey. . . . We begin at home, and then we spend most of our lives in that difficult adventure, and then at the end we come back home. And it is story, not bullet points, not PowerPoints, not outlines. It's story that touches people's hearts and penetrates their minds and changes people's lives. You can have a great story that can change the world. I hope you do.”

    – John Ortberg

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    Connect with John Ortberg

    John Ortberg website

    Twitter

    Instagram

    Facebook

  • It takes courage to innovate, to go against the tide of conventional thinking. But when we fail, it can feel nearly impossible to pivot gracefully from our mistakes, let alone face them with an open spirit and a can-fix attitude. Ron Johnson. CEO of Enjoy, knows the thrill that comes from innovation and also knows the pain of trying to innovate in a space that is unwilling to change. Ron’s career took off as the brains behind a refresh at Target that transformed the retailer’s whole brand. After that achievement, he joined Apple, and in an environment known for innovation, Ron thrived as he developed the highly successful Apple Stores and Genius Bars. With a reputation for bringing life to brands, Ron was brought on by J.C. Penney to revive the 100 old year retailer brand, but would find that his typical scenario of being a successful changemaker would be challenged and ultimately blocked completely. Ron walks us through how his successes informed him, and how his “failures” brought personal growth. He and John reflect on how the “pool of tears” that come from difficult times can either “drown us” or “refresh” us and that it is important that we make a choice to push forward in the aftermath of adversity.



    Links, Products and Resources Mentioned:

    Ron Johnson LinkedIn

    Designer Michael Graves

    Target

    Apple Stores

    Remembering Steve Jobs

    J C Penney

    Enjoy

    Bible Study Fellowship

    Interview Quotes:

    Every human being was made to flourish, every human being was made to create, every human being was made to grow.”

    – John Ortberg

    “If you focus on getting a little better, pretty soon you'll be really good at something.”

    – Ron Johnson

    Steve Jobs was a visionary, but he used to say, ‘The most important thing in my vision is to take that first step, and let the first step inform the next.’ Steve focused on one thing at a time, and if he did that well enough, he earned the right to do another. It's a really great mindset to life because you never get ahead of yourself.”

    – Ron Johnson

    “One of the hardest things in life is to think through what you're trying to accomplish, and get it down into such a clear expression of words that everyone understands. And if your mission is clear, it's easy for you to step up to new ideas. But mostly in the world we live in, there's no clear direction. And so, everyone's got different opinions. So you’ve got to get that mission right, and then everything falls in place.”

    – Ron Johnson

    Brutal honesty may be the highest form of kindness, because most of us want to be in relationship, but what gets in the way is truth. It's really telling people how you feel. If you know how someone feels, you can learn and grow.”

    – Ron Johnson

    When people walk in the Apple Store, they believe Apple and the employees care deeply about them, right? And it comes back to: we live our life in the relationship business. It's true with our family, it's true with our faith, it's true with our work.”

    – Ron Johnson

    That's what I try to focus on through work, is really creating a culture of love that shows up through being kind to other people. When you're restoring a computer, you're being kind. When you're greeting someone, you're being kind. And when you listen to someone at work, you're being kind. When you mentor someone, you're being kind. Those are all acts of love.”

    – Ron Johnson

    “I had these tears, and I made a choice. They could nourish me or drown me, and I chose to make them nourish, right? And so, I let that water breathe a new freshness of life. And so, while Penney's was getting worse and worse, I was actually getting stronger and stronger inside.”

    – Ron Johnson

    “Life is not perfect. Nothing's perfect. There's no straight lines up. And so, you have to understand sometimes you're put in a difficult situation and all you can do is say, ‘What am I meant to learn through this?’ And that's what I focused during my last months at J.C. Penney.”

    – Ron Johnson

    “Embrace the disruption in your life. Life is hard, but we all have low points and high points. And in life, you make choices. “

    – Ron Johnson

    “I think if you bring your challenges to others, the natural response from human beings is to help, because we're made to love. We're made to help. We're made to be in relationship. And so, when you're struggling, it's probably because you're fighting a battle on your own, and I'd find a way to battle with someone else. Get someone to help.”

    – Ron Johnson

    “Everybody has their own pool of tears—you have them, and I have them, people who are remarkable leaders have them. People whose lives may look quite hidden, or even quite safe, have them. And those tears will either nourish me or drown me. And I will choose to have them nourish me. And what that means is I don't wish them away. I don't become embittered by them. I don't blame other people for them. I allow myself to experience them deeply. And then I ask, ‘What can I learn, and what person do I want to be in response to a situation that has challenged and taxed me beyond my own human capacity?’”

    – John Ortberg





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    Connect with John Ortberg

    John Ortberg website

    Twitter

    Instagram

    Facebook

  • A special preview of the "What Were You Thinking?" podcast with Pastor and writer John Ortberg. John describes how we'll plumb the depths with he and his guests as they describe the catalysts of change in their lives and how we can all capitalize on those "lightbulb" moments to create new direction and experiences.