Eight Words

When do you pray?  What do you pray about?  Whom do you pray for?  Do you pray at all?

When it comes to prayer, Jesus set the pace for us.  He prayed before picking His team of co-workers (that would be his 12 disciples.)  He prayed when people needed a miracle (remember the five loaves and two fish).  He prayed with Peter, James, and John before His transfiguration.  He told parables about persisting in prayer and not giving up.  He prayed for Simon Peter.  He prayed when He ate the last supper with His disciples.  He prayed in the face of His biggest test (before His arrest at the mount of Olives).  He prayed when He was dying.  He kept on praying after His resurrection (at the meal with two disciples from Emmaus).

His disciples were so moved by His transparent and powerful praying they said, “Lord, teach us to pray.” (Luke 11)  And in response, He taught them to pray to their Father in Heaven (Matt. 6), and one line from what we know as The Lord’s Prayer surely got their attention, “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” 

If you think deeply about this sentence, it will soon strike you that we should never fall into the trap of bifurcating our lives into the spiritual and the secular, into church and business.  God has told us that He made all, He rules all, He owns all.  That would be everything.

The former President of the Netherlands, Abraham Kuyper, succinctly said it like this,

“There is not one square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign overall all, does not cry out, Mine!”

If our Lord Jesus owns all, is sovereign over all, and wants His will to be done and His kingdom to come here on earth, then surely every aspect of our business, family and personal life falls into the realm of His interests.

And that means everything.  Every moment is therefore pregnant with possibilities for prayer.

  • Need to hire a new employee?  God is interested.  Pray.
  • Need to make some big financial decisions about the disposition of your wealth?  Pray.
  • Facing a tough decision?  God has called us to ask for wisdom.  Pray.
  • Feeling the tug of an especially nasty temptation? The Bible says, “Watch and pray that you do not fall into temptation.”

And particularly pray when that mountain-sized problem walks through the front door.

I’m always inspired by the account of Nehemiah as he is working his way through a strategy to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.  He fasts and prays.  He knows the success of his strategy is contingent upon the king granting his request for a travel permit.  He asks God for favour in the presence of the king.  Then, when the moment comes, and the king says, “What is it that you want?” we read these eight simple words that changed the course of Jewish history.  Nehemiah tells us,

“Then I prayed to the God of heaven.” (Nehemiah 1:4)

I’m sure it was a very short prayer, breathed quickly in his mind to God, and was likely over in just a few seconds.  But that prayer altered things forever.  Maybe he prayed, “O God, help me now.”  Or perhaps, “Give me success, Lord.”  Or maybe, “I’m in your hands, God.”  History tells us God moved the heart of the king and the Jerusalem project became a resounding success.

I think God wants all of us to be Nehemiahs.  Because Christ rules over all and is therefore interested in all, and because God’s Word tells us to “Pray continually” (1 Thess. 5:17), and “on all occasions” (Eph. 6:18), there is never a moment that is not a candidate for prayer.

Our Corpath mantra goes like this: pursuing excellence in business, in life, in spirit.  God’s plan all along has been to assist us in this pursuit of excellence.  And that means there is no problem, there is no opportunity, there is no possibility for which God does not want us to ask for His wisdom, His provision, His intervention, His favour, His kingdom come.

Can you say with Nehemiah, “Then I prayed to the God of heaven?”

Gordon Dirks, President (Interim)

Your Next Fierce Conversation

When you read through the biography of Jesus in the Christian Gospels, you can’t help but notice He had some very fierce conversations.

Think of His numerous challenges to Peter (Luke 22), or His revealing conversation with the woman at the well (John 6).  How about His challenge to the Pharisees (John 8), or His upfront comments to doubting Thomas (John 20).  What about critiquing His disciples’ ego-driven leadership style (Luke 9)?  And we catch our breath when we read how He told the rich young ruler to sell everything He had, give the proceeds to the poor, and follow Him, even though He knows this fierce conversation would be deeply troubling for the young man (Luke 18).

Some of Jesus’ conversations were no doubt emotionally painful for His listeners.  But He seemed to intuitively know that interrogating reality and pointing out “the undiscussable” was essential if people were to move forward in life.  And He was willing to let the chips fall where they may.

There was something about the way Jesus showed His deep concern for the well-being of people in His frank conversations with them.  But so often our human nature shies away from intense conversations and fierce dialogue.  Such moments are not easy.  We don’t pant after them.  Nevertheless, our leadership journeys have taught us they are very necessary if the core values of our organization, our church, or our family are going to be protected.  I remember the first time ever I was challenged as a young college student by my employer.  It rocked me back on my proverbial heels and caused me to come face to face with my lack of expected performance.  I needed that fierce conversation.

When was the last time you shied away from a tough dialogue?  Perhaps we are reluctant to engage in tough conversations because we fear how we will be perceived.  We want to “preserve the peace,” and the people-pleasing side of our nature wins the day.  Or we don’t want to face the uncertainty of how our employee, or partner, or child, or spouse, or customer will respond. Maybe we shrink back from a legitimate fear of creating turbulence in someone’s life.  Out of ostensible compassion, we keep silent, and our failure to confront reality only results in a further deterioration of the relationship, or a failure to meet performance goals or even a toxic fracture in the workplace.

But in her book, Fierce Conversations, Susan Scott reminds us that most people want to hear the truth, even if it is unpalatable, and there is something within us that often responds deeply to people who level with us.   Jesus was a “leveler.”  His conversations were robust, intense, powerful, and always motivated by love.  He never had an inauthentic, fake interaction with anyone.  He always made the conversation real, seeking the best interests of others.

Scott tells us that in its simplest form,

“A fierce conversation is one in which we come out from behind ourselves into the conversation and make it real.  While many are afraid of ‘real,’ it is the unreal conversation that should scare us to death.  Unreal conversations are incredibly expensive for organizations and for individuals.  Whoever said talk is cheap was mistaken.”

As we go into this week, let’s be alert to those moments when our leadership instincts are telling us it’s time for a fierce conversation.  When the temptation comes to avoid the topic, hold back, or change the subject, instead let’s take that deep breath and make the conversation real.  Such conversations are the stuff that strengthens marriages, develop character in our children, build strong teams that can tackle and resolve tough challenges, and enable us to become positive agents for change.

Sure, our hearts may pump a little faster, and the mouth may go dry.  Such conversations are never easy.  But they are necessary.

Blessings for your next fierce conversation.


Corpath Business Forums – www.corpath.ca

Come Back With Your Shield…Or On It!

Every two years my brothers and I travel back to the birthplace of our parents in Saskatchewan for a special brothers’ retreat.  We always spend some time in the little Mennonite cemetery north of Waldheim where my Mom and Dad are buried.  It’s a sacred space.  We walk the cemetery, looking at the graves of our great-grandparents, our grandparents, and then we spend time at Mom and Dad’s gravesite.  We talk and reflect on the long line of faithful heritage that has been passed down to us.  Our ancestors did not waver in their commitment to Christ, to His gospel, and to the call of God on their lives.  They took their stand and were faithful to the end.

When I think of their faithful allegiance to Christ, I’m reminded of the historical account of the heroic stand of Leonidas and his faithful band of 300 Spartans who were trained to stand or die.  “Come back with your shield or on it,” a Spartan mother told her son.  The year was 480 BC.  The Persian King Xerxes was on a revengeful march against the Greeks with the greatest army the world had ever seen.  Simply to pass by the king in review took a full week.   Disastrously, the Greek were betrayed at the pass called Thermopylae.  Recounting this event, Os Guinness in his book, The Call, tells us that death was coming as surely as the dawn for the Spartans who made their last desperate stand.  The Greek historian, Herodotus says that when their swords were gone, the Spartans fought on to the last man with their hands and teeth.

But before they died, they sent home the stirring message that has become their epitaph:  “Stranger, tell the Spartans that we behaved as they would wish us to, and are buried here.”  Dedicated and courageous, they did their duty.  They stood fast to the end.

And then Os Guinness asks this probing question of us today.  “Will it be said of followers of Jesus Christ, “Passerby, tell our Lord that we have behaved as he would wish us to behave, and are buried here.”?

One day, unless Christ returns first, each of our physical remains will be buried somewhere.  Our days as Corpath business people will be over.  The end will have come as surely as the dawn.  If your children, or grandchildren, or great-grandchildren were to pull up a chair by your graveside, what would they say?

In his book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey says the second habit of successful people (after being proactive) is to, “Begin with the end in mind.”  When my Father was dying he said, “So this is how it ends.”  Sometimes the most important thing we can do is step back from the busyness of our days, and think about the end of it all.  And ask ourselves as Christian business and professional people…are we living faithfully in devotion and service to Christ: in our business lives, in our family lives, in our personal lives?

I’m looking forward to our brothers’ retreat this June.  We’ll likely play some golf, tour some historic sites, enjoy a meal with relatives, and then we’ll head for the cemetery.  And for a few moments, we’ll stand in silence around our parents’ graves.  And I’ll renew my commitment to live faithfully in that long lineage of allegiance to Christ.   How about you?

“Passerby, tell our Lord that we behaved as he would wish us to behave, and are buried here.”

Your friend,


Gordon Dirks, President (Interim)

Ponder the Pattern My Life Is Weaving

Would you agree that the first and foremost task of the Christian leader is to attend to their heart and soul?

That’s what Solomon says.  He puts it this way, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”  (Prov. 4:23)  Another translation refers to the heart as “the wellspring of life.”  Our Lord Jesus had a lot to say about this human wellspring. Consider his words:

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart.” Matthew 12:30
“The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart…for out of the overflow of his heart, his mouth speaks.”  Luke 6:45

As leaders in business and faith, we cannot fail to attend to the health of our inner life…the life of the soul, the spirit, the heart.  And it is at this deep inner level of our being that core beliefs are established, lasting values defined, habits cemented, and long-term affections formed.

It is from this inner life that our behaviour spills out …into our marriage, our bank accounts, our online viewing habits, our church commitments, our treatment of employees, and our business ethics.  That’s why we need a soul strategy before we need a business strategy.  An anonymous author tells us why:

Sow a thought, reap an action.  Sow an action, reap a habit.
Sow a habit, reap a character.  Sow a character, reap a destiny.

Nothing is more important than our inner life. In her book, ‘Learn To Lead from Your Spiritual Center’, Patricia Brown speaks to the centrality of a healthy inner life as crucial for effective leadership.  Here’s what she writes,

“The failure of leaders to deal with their own souls, their inner life, is deeply troubling not only for themselves but also for other persons in the misery they cause. The destructive consequences of leaders who fail to work out of a deep sense of their inner self are staggering.  Leaders have a particular responsibility to know what is going on inside their souls.  For leaders, this means taking the journey in and down.  As they become fully awake, they come to know and understand what it is within that betrays them and those they strive to serve.”

Sadly, we all know stories of Christian business and church leaders whose lives went off the rails because they failed in the one great task of keeping their inner life, the life of the soul and heart, aligned with the true north of God’s divine Word for them.

How do we weather the storms of life that threaten the soul?  How do we attend to our soul?  By faithfully practicing the classic spiritual disciplines:  reading God’s Word with meditation, prayer, self-examination, confession, restitution, simplicity, worship, Christian community, celebration, service, submission, and solitude with God.

In light of the above, is it time for you to “ponder the pattern your life is weaving?”  Sometimes the most important thing we can do is practice the discipline of “examen” and conduct a self-audit on the state of our inner life.  As we go into this week and live out the month of April, let’s take this prayer with us.

“Almighty God, in this quiet hour I seek communion with Thee.  From the fret and fever of the day’s business, from the world’s discordant noises, from the praise and blame of men, from the confused thoughts and vain imaginations of my own heart, I would now turn aside and seek the quietness of Thy presence.  All day long I have toiled and striven; but now, in the still of heart and the clear light of  Thine eternity, I would ponder the pattern my life is weaving.”  (John Baillie, a Diary of Private Prayer). 

May God bless you as you ponder the pattern your life is weaving.

Gordon Dirks, President (Interim)

Corpath Business Forums

What Are You Reading?

One of the most important relationships we can have is that of being mentored.  Over my leadership career I have never formally been a “mentoree,” but in reality, numerous influential actors have mentored me down through the decades.

My father mentored me in integrity.  I will always remember him telling why he couldn’t share with me the secret navy codes he used in WWII to direct allied convoys across the North Atlantic from St. Johns.  It was because “I took an oath.”  The dean of major gift fundraisers in the US mentored me in the importance of maintaining long-term relationships with an anecdote about how a first time $100 gift to the University of Southern California turned into a $100M legacy gift years later.  Dr. Robert Clinton mentored me on the importance of developing the inner life of the leader by responding to divine “integrity and obedience” checks in his classic work, “The Making of a Leader.”

Some of my most powerful mentors have been long dead: Martin Luther King Jr. with his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” and Winston Churchill with his four-word graduation speech to a class of British youngsters, “Never, never, never give up!”  These leaders mentored me through books I have read, especially the genre of biography.

All leaders should be readers.  The great divine, John Wesley, is quoted as saying, “Read and pray daily … else you will be a trifler all your days.”  So what are you reading?  Let me take a few moments and share with you six books and authors that have profoundly influenced my leadership journey and inner life.

  1. Spiritual Leadership, by J. Oswald Sanders – This classic leadership book was written to encourage men and women of God to place all their talents and powers at the disposal of God so He can create leaders to be used for His glory.
  2. The Life God Blesses – Weathering the Storms of Life That Threaten the Soul, by Gordon MacDonald.  Over the years I have occasionally culled my personal library, but this volume remains.  An inspiring read on the importance of strengthening the soul of the leader.
  3. Fierce Conversations – Achieving Success at Work & in Life, One Conversation at a Time, by Susan Scott.  Her insights that we need to “master the courage to interrogate reality,” and that “our work, our relationships and our lives succeed or fail one conversation at a time,” have permanently altered my approach to leadership dynamics.
  4. Making Sense of God – an Invitation to the Skeptical, by Timothy Keller.  This is perhaps the best exposition I have read on why Christian faith “makes sense” and lines up with reality.
  5. Leading Change, by John P. Kotter.  I am forever grateful for this volume.  The first two stages in his eight stage change process are forever etched into my leadership brain:  first – establish a sense of urgency, and second – establish a guiding coalition.
  6. Necessary Endings, by Dr. Henry Cloud.  This book gave me powerful insights into when the time has come to pull the trigger on employee and personal relationships, and on business strategies and opportunities.

What is the volume of leadership or life that has profoundly shaped your leadership journey?  Let’s keep reading…there’s no shortage of mentors that can inspire and direct us down fruitful paths of leadership throughout 2019.

Blessings for the leadership journey,

Gordon Dirks, President (Interim)
Corpath Business Forums – www.corpath.ca

Breaking the Leadership Bubble

We all know effective leadership is contingent upon a dynamic mix of both hard and soft skills.  Every business and organizational enterprise requires leaders who have mastered certain industry-relevant hard skills: engineering skills, financial skills, preaching skills, IT skills … the list of hard skills is as long as the number of old and new enterprises.  But top-drawer leaders know the lessons of enterprise success include the necessity of mastering the soft skills of effective human engagement.   A recent article by Rasmus Hougaard caught my attention in this regard.

His anecdote recounts the story of Bill Marriott Sr., the founder of the Marriott Hotel chain, inviting then U.S. President Eisenhower to hunt quail on his Virginia family farm.  When the day arrived to go hunting it was cold and rainy with driving winds and freezing sleet.  The hunting group gathered around the sitting room fireplace to decide whether or not to venture out into the harsh elements.  The youngest in the group was Bill Jr., a 22-year-old Navy ensign.  After some discussion, President Eisenhower turned to young Bill and asked, “What do you think?”

Undaunted, Bill Jr suggested they stay inside and enjoy the fire.  But the encounter with the President stuck with him all his life.  The most powerful person in the world had asked his opinion, and in so doing Bill Jr. learned the importance of leaders eliciting varied views and seeking consensus.  Bill went on in life to consider Eisenhower’s simple question to be the four most important words in leadership, “What do you think?”

Hougaard says that this simple question is so very important because it embodies three imperatives of exceptional leadership:  break out of the leadership bubble, show true humility, and see others as equal.

By asking that simple question, “What do you think?” we can get the feedback we need to improve thinking, gain the benefits of divergent perspectives, find team-building consensus, and break free of our own myopic “bubble thinking.”

By asking that question we show the humility that comes with a strong and courageous leadership style that is willing to consider other opinions as worthy of consideration, and possibly an improvement on our own thinking.

And by asking that question we make a statement that everyone in our circle matters, that we all have different opinions, perspectives and levels of expertise that should be valued, respected and honoured.  Hougaard writes, “Seeing others this way helps support diversity and inclusion and puts the organization’s needs before personal preferences.  It allows leaders to seek common ground and be open to constructive collaboration.”

Of course, sometimes tough decisions need to be made by the organizational leader.  But by breaking out of the leadership bubble, showing humility, seeing others as equals, and creating space for collaboration by asking, “What do you think?” we increase the likelihood of better decision-making and fostering a strong organizational culture.

And if ever there is a relevant and welcoming environment in which to ask, “What do you think?” it’s in our Corpath forums.  Over the years this question has been asked multiple times in my Corpath forum as updates are shared and presentations made.

Whether it’s in our Corpath forum, in our business boardroom, on the shop floor, having coffee with our spouse, or chatting with children…we can rarely go wrong asking, “What do you think?”

Blessings for your leadership journey,

Gordon Dirks, President (Interim), Corpath Business Forums

Life Is Hard

Scott Peck begins his bestseller, The Road Less Travelled, with those three short, but profound words, “Life is hard.” 

How true.  I’ve rarely had an easy day in my 45 years of leadership, and I doubt that you have.  Strategic decisions, HR mudholes, making payroll, ethical dilemmas, stakeholder anger, customer frustrations, government inaction, IT screw-ups, the list of leadership challenges is non-stop.  And layer on top of that the daily complexities of family finances, marriage expectations, child-rearing, diet and fitness commitments. problems sleeping … the truth is, we can feel overwhelmed.

Yes, life is hard.  Life is complicated.  We get confused.  Anxieties flood in.  Events overtake us, and sometimes we just feel powerless to move forward.  Where can we find relief, consolation, encouragement, and strength when life is hard and we feel knocked down.

I believe turning to God through prayer is the key to experiencing inner peace, deep comfort, and strength for the journey when every day seems like more white water.  Jesus said, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened down, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)  and the Apostle Peter wrote, “Cast all your care upon him because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)

When life is hard, and we are confused and need wisdom and strength for the leadership challenges ahead…here is a wonderful short appeal to God that I call my “Prayer for Life.”  May it encourage you!

“Father, you are full of compassion.  I commit and commend myself unto you.  Be the Goal of my pilgrimage and my Rest by the way.  Let my soul take refuge from the crowding turmoil of worldly thoughts beneath the shadow of your wings.  Let my heart, this sea of restless waves, find peace in you. O God.  Amen”  (St Augustine in Little Book of Prayers.)

Gordon Dirks
President (Interim)
Corpath Business Forums

What Happens When We Forget God’s Goodness?

By Rick Warren

“What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if all you have is from God, why act as though you are so great, and as though you have accomplished something on your own?” (1 Corinthians 4:7 TLB).

Yesterday we talked about how trusting in God’s goodness helps us face life’s struggles. So, what happens when we forget God’s goodness?

When we forget God’s goodness, we start claiming credit for things God has done.

In Luke 12, Jesus tells a story of a rich man who had been very successful but didn’t give God any of the credit. This man thought he built his wealth all by himself. God says to him, “You fool. Tonight you’re going to die, and I’m going to give everything you’ve amassed to somebody else who will appreciate it and express their gratitude to me.”

That’s a sober warning!

Prideful ingratitude is the sin that got Satan kicked out of heaven, and it’s the source of all our sins. When you stop being grateful to God, you get into trouble: “Yes, [people] knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused” (Romans 1:21 NLT).

The problem with the self-made man is that he worships his maker. You may be thinking, Wait a minute; I built this business with my bare hands. But who gave you your hands? I thought up the business plan totally by myself. But who gave you your mind? I worked for where I got today by the sweat of my brow. But who gave you the ability to work so hard?

“What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if all you have is from God, why act as though you are so great, and as though you have accomplished something on your own?” (1 Corinthians 4:7 TLB).

Everything you have in life—the ability to see, the ability to hear, the ability to eat, your freedom, your thoughts—you owe to God. You would not take your next breath if it weren’t for the goodness of God. You wouldn’t exist if God hadn’t made you to love you.

Ingratitude is actually one of the roots of atheism; when you’re ungrateful, you start dismissing or even denying what God has done. And that’s just a short step from denying that God even exists.

Yet the truth is we don’t even have to know a lot of the Bible to know a lot about God. All you have to do is walk outside. The Bible says it like this: “For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God” (Romans 1:20 NLT).

When you start to doubt the goodness of God, just take a step outside your door and look around!

REFLECT

  • Step outside for a few minutes and think about the goodness of God in the natural world. Think about more than just the easy-to-name things (such as sunshine, snow, trees). What do you notice when you go deeper?
  • What good things in your life do you tend to take credit for?
  • How does a wrong understanding of God’s character skew our perspective of life? How does it make us “dark and confused,” as Romans 1:21 says?

Give hope, prayer, and encouragement below.

 

 

Called to Be Who You Are

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10

I don’t know anyone who walked away from his or her faith because of Jesus, but I know many who walked away because of the poor leadership of those who represent Jesus.

Christian leaders should be the best leaders in the world because we have the best Leader in history teaching us. We have the Creator infusing creativity into us. We have the Holy Spirit guiding us and giving us wisdom.

Great leadership demands that we stay in step with the Spirit. We need to learn the ways of life-giving leadership because it brings out the best in those around us as we lead from our truest selves. Look around. It’s not hard to see the need for bringing life to others. You can do this only when you lead from your truest self, from your design. God created you for a purpose, which is to lead and to lead well.

Life-giving leaders carry the name of Jesus throughout communities and to the person standing next to them. They live out their calling with fulfillment and joy. They live to the fullest, just as Jesus implores us in John 10:10.

How we lead affects people’s lives and their faith. That’s a short sentence with an eternal impact. The weight of our leadership rests on our shoulders, and we need to carry it well.

Grace should flow from leaders to those around them. The most common type of leadership, however, is just the opposite. How many people have you worked for who required grace from their team members? Perhaps the leader was constantly late. Or maybe the leader lacked integrity, held unrealistic expectations, was an ineffective communicator, or was morally corrupt. We’ve all been there and never want to go back. Constantly having to give life and grace to those who lead you is exhausting. In contrast, wouldn’t it be amazing to work for a leader who gives you life?

The best leader is one who continually extends grace rather than requiring it from others. The flow of grace is critical to the leader’s ability to grow in influence. When leaders require grace to flow to them, the system is corrupt. It’s backward.

Life-giving leadership flips the common scenario on its end.  Life-giving leaders spread life, grace, hope, joy, and positivity like wildfire.

REFLECT:

  1.  Why should leaders extend grace more than require it?
  2.  Are you a high-octane, energizing leader with big ideas and the skills to back them up?
  3.  Do you help shape the hearts and minds of those you lead? In short, are you a catalyst leader?

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

From ‘The Life-Giving Leader’, by By Tyler Reagin.  Learning to Lead from Your Truest Self

 

UNCOMMEN LEADERS – Who’s in Your Five?

“Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgement.” Proverbs 18:1

Leadership guru Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

An old mobile marketing campaign asked, “Who’s in your five?”

It’s common for guys in their 20’s can rattle off names quickly. On their wedding day, you’ll find their five flanking them. But it doesn’t take long for those five to start fading from the picture. It’s natural to lose friends over time. People change. People move. All too often, few take their place.

We become known more by our titles, our accomplishments, or our kids. Increasingly we are known as “the boss,” “the guy who built that company, “runs in those triathlons,” or “Johnny’s dad.”

We become known by what we do more than who we are. In an article titled, “The Friendship Crisis,” The Washington Post recently quoted from an American Sociological Review stating “that the number of close friends for adults is declining, with the modal number of close friendship in 1985 being three, while in 2004 the modal number was zero. The percentage of adults who report having no close friends at all has increased from 36 percent in 1985 to 53.4 percent by 2004.”

An ancient Proverb says, “An isolated man seeks out his own desires (or can be translated: destruction), he breaks out against all sound judgement.”

Isolated men create chaos. Their names litter the headlines, our prisons, and our neighborhoods. Men who shoot up movie theatres live a double life or simply escape to a virtual world after work.

Back in 1965, Martin Luther King Jr said, “What we are facing today is the fact that through our scientific and technological genius we’ve made of this world a neighborhood. And now through our moral and ethical commitment, we must make of it a brotherhood.”

Leadership can be lonely, but you don’t have to go it alone.

Guys in your five ask you the tough questions. They challenge you to risk. They give you permission to be who you are. They value you for who you are more than what you do.

So it begs the question, “Who’s in your five?” And if you are struggling to lift up more than one or two fingers, it’s time to build your brotherhood.

Schedule a lunch or virtual coffee with them. Reconnect. Be challenged. Watch your leadership deepen.

Be UNCOMMEN.


Submitted by UNCOMMEN Coach, Brian Goins. – https://www.uncommen.org/mission/