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Watch 2022 online sermons » Craig Groeschel » Craig Groeschel - Leading Through Insecurity

Craig Groeschel - Leading Through Insecurity


Craig Groeschel - Leading Through Insecurity
Craig Groeschel - Leading Through Insecurity
TOPICS: Leadership Podcast, Leadership, Insecurity

Hey, welcome to another episode of the "Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast," where we're incredibly passionate about helping you become a leader that people love to follow. Today, I've got a fantastic guest who's been a friend for probably about 20 years. She's an international author, speaker, and world-class leader, the founder of A21, an organization helping rescue people out of human trafficking. and Propel Women, building leaders all over the world. She's author of the brand new book, "How Did I Get Here"? A dear friend, let's now go to the interview I did with Christine Caine. Well, Chris, welcome to the podcast.

Hey, Craig, I am so honored to be here with you.

I'm embarrassed that I haven't had you on before. You're like my favorite friend that I haven't tapped into your wisdom just yet. And I'm super excited to introduce our audience to you, those that don't know you. So thank you again. Congratulations on your book, "How Did I Get Here"? I hear it's impacting so many lives all over the world already.

Yeah, I feel so awesome. And I feel like I've been on your podcast because I listen to it every single week.

Oh, that's so funny.

I feel like I'm definitely part of your community, let's say that.

I love you and Nick and we love your team so much. And so it's been an honor to partner with you for years and years. I want to ask you more about the book in a bit, but first of all, let's dive into some leadership. Chris, you are never still, you're one of the most active, crazy, energetic, entrepreneurial, ministry impacting leaders on the planet. And so I'm interested, is there something you've been focusing on recently, that's taking up a big part of your heart and energy?

Well, you know, Craig, we obviously, Nick an I together, lead A21, so a global anti-human trafficking organization. And in the midst of a pandemic, let me tell you the one thing that has not stopped and that is injustice and that is trafficking. We actually have more survivors in our care now, during this pandemic, than we have ever had in the 14 year history of A21. And so like everybody else we have had to learn to pivot, what do you do when you have 19 offices in 16 countries around the world during a global pandemic, and traffickers are still active and people are still being trafficked. So we have had to learn how to pivot during this season, how to still continue to rescue, see people rescued, how to reach the vulnerable, how to restore survivors. And it has tested us, but I've got to say we've dug deep, and our team is unbelievable. We've got hundreds of staff around the world and everybody's been in varying degrees of lockdown. The pandemic's affected people in different ways, but to see everyone become creative on how to reach more people, how to rescue more people, and how to restore more people, it has been awesome. So I feel like we've had to tap into our leadership and navigate something that's never been navigated before, not in my lifetime, but it's been great.

We love whenever we just hear the amazing stories and there's so many miraculous rescues that you have over and over and over again. But the leadership of it has gotta be incredibly complicated. You said, I think 19 offices in 16 countries, it's difficult to lead 16 people, much less hundreds of people in different countries. And what I love about you, there's so much, but your journey toward leadership is not a typical one. And I like to tell leaders that almost everyone's journey is not typical. We tend to think of it as like you kind of get a normal pathway in your mind, but yours is not typical at all. Could you tell us a little bit about when you started to see yourself as a leader and then at the end of that, I kind of want to get some advice from you for someone else who might feel like their journey's not typical as well. So when did you start seeing yourself as a leader and what did that journey look like?

I think no doubt, if I go right back to school, it was evident that there was a leadership gift on my life because I was leading in sporting capacities, on the school council, in those different ways. But it was really for me when I stepped into a local church in Sydney, Australia, as you can tell from the accent, that's where I'm from. And I began to serve, it really is quite interesting how that leadership gift developed. I began to serve in our local youth ministry. And it wasn't really anything that I had thought about in depth. There was a need and this is where it all began for me. They had said at the church, during the youth ministry, we're going to have a church cleanup day. And here is how it worked that on that day, I was the only one from the youth group that turned up and I always laugh, it's like you see a need, you meet it. And oftentimes there's not a whole lot of other people around. And so almost by default, I got thrust into this leadership position because at the same time, the assistant youth pastor said, we're starting a community-based youth center and I need some help. And obviously in that moment, there was nobody else. There was just me cleaning the store room. And so it was like, you're going to do. Out of that, I stepped into this community-based youth center. I had to educate myself. I knew nothing about community-based youth centers. I had never thought this was something I wanted to do in my life, but it was the opportunity that was right there in front of me. So I stepped into that opportunity. Over the course of the next seven years, it grew into one of the largest youth centers in the nation. And then from that, I was appointed the director of a large youth movement in Australia. And then from there, I began to speak around the world. And then out of that came the A21 campaign where we together with Nick, started leading that, and then Propel Women, which is a global women's empowerment organization. We have 4,000 chapters in 108 countries around the world. And so it grew, it grew from turning up one day in a storeroom to today, leading a couple of large global organizations with staff all around the world.

That's so fascinating to me, Chris. And it's interesting is a lot of leaders will have a similar story, you started cleaning up a storeroom. And today it almost seems like there's some people that want to skip that stage and say, I want to be a great leader, I want to have influence, I want to be an insta-influencer, I want to have a big staff or whatever, but they're not willing to start by scrubbing floors. What part of that serving do you think played a key role in helping you grow into the leader that you are today?

Yeah, I think without a doubt, I say there's a couple of things that were really helpful. I'm a little bit older, Craig, so I'm 55, right there in the mid fifties. So I actually started my leadership journey, I know this is going to be hard to believe, but before there was an internet, practically before there were cellphones, there was definitely no social media. So a lot of my formation happened offline. I'm so grateful for that because of course like everybody, there were mistakes and trip ups around the way, my character needed forming. And I'm grateful that that happened. And this is where I think the joy of serving sometimes in anonymity and obscurity, when you don't have a spotlight on you, you can actually make mistakes, and the whole world doesn't know about it immediately, and you can grow. And if you've got some good mentors above you, they can help bring you through those processes. But for me, again, because I'm a little bit older, I grew up in the day of film cameras, Craig. And so there was no sort of snap and upload. Today, if I have a dream, you say that there was, I want to run a global anti-trafficking organization, I would take a selfie, I would post it, I'd put a hashtag, future global anti-trafficking activist. And then I could stumble all the way and never get there. But in my day it was almost like you took a picture and you had a roll of film, and then you had to take the roll of film to Walgreens. And then it went away for two weeks, and you didn't even know, you were just praying that maybe you didn't take 24 photos of your foot and you had to wait two weeks until this roll of film went through nine chemical processes in a dark room when nobody could see it. And then when the image was forged on the negative, then the door to the dark room was opened and your pictures came out, they were developed, and they stood the test of time. I feel like all of those years, serving in anonymity and obscurity, doing a lot of things I didn't want to do necessarily, and didn't realize they were forming my character. They were forming me into understanding all of the process that it takes to run a global organization, to understand what it is to work with people in 16 different countries. You've got 16 different cultures. You've got 16 different expectations. There are so many things to deal with. There are language barriers. There are personality barriers. I mean, it's more than just the Enneagram, and when you start putting culture and tradition and different political systems and different social systems and economic systems into all of this mix. And then say to all of these hundreds of people, we're going to work together to one cause, with one vision, that's not easy. But I can say a lot of my way to navigate those things happened when I had to navigate serving in anonymity and obscurity. I think in that a lot of things to do with ego, perhaps your own narcissistic desires, a lot of things like that were beaten out of me through servanthood in many ways that taught me to be a better leader. And what I didn't realize is even way back then, I was being prepared for what was already prepared for me decades later, and has helped me to be a better leader down this end of the track.

Well, that's so good. And I can only imagine that there's some leaders right now listening, that may feel like they're in the dark room, and that's not a bad thing, you're being developed. And often there's gotta be something developed in you before there's something that comes through you. And I always tell leaders this quote, isn't original to me, but long before you're over others, you need to learn to be under with faithfulness and a servant attitude. And that's what you did, and I know a lot of leaders are there now. We're a big fans of A21. And Propel Women is up at the top of the list of organizations I love. And so those are thriving now, but at one point they were just an idea. And I'm certain, there's some leaders listening right now that have an idea. What advice would you give to them, Chris, to when do you know it's time to go from dreaming, to doing, from idea to actually initiation or application? What pushes you to that moment of commitment to go public and go again, and go big?

Sure, for me, it's when I can't shake it after a considerable bit of time. I don't think there's been anything in my life where I go, I had an idea today, I posted it tomorrow, and it happened the next day. In fact, in my life, you know, in my mid fifties, there are just a few things that I do. A lot of people think, wow, you do a whole lot, but I actually don't, there's a few things. And I haven't laid it all on the line for many things, just a few things. You know, whether it's A21, Propel, a lot of the teaching that I do and helping to empower people and people to overcome adversity. So much of that is tied into my own story. For me, that moment is when I literally cannot sleep any longer, it just keeps going, it keeps mulling in my head, it seems everywhere I turned this thing is before me. And then I'm quite strategic. So of course for me then I've got to work out, is there a team that can help me do this? I've never been a lone ranger. Right from the outset, way back to even cleaning stores, I've always gathered a team. I've never thought, Craig, this is the absolute truth, I've never actually thought I'm good enough to do any of this. I've never thought I've got all the gifts or all the talents or the skills. In fact, contrary, some people I think would say, oh, you're number eight on the Enneagram, or you're a high D. I actually am not that confident in my own strength and ability, but I am very confident that if you get all the right people in the right places, doing the right things, you can achieve remarkable results.

So let's talk about that, what did you do? Because you didn't have financial resources, you didn't have offices, you didn't have a name, you didn't have your LLC or your whatever it was. What did you do to attract the people to the vision in the early stages? And what advice could you have to other leaders to do the same thing?

Yeah, I began to articulate it. I would find myself, especially when it came to human trafficking. I had seen posters of missing women and children in a regional airport, in Thessaloniki, Greece. And it just so disturbed me. And that's normally what happens, you know, you're disturbed on the inside, there's a problem. And I literally like most people was thinking somebody should be doing something about this. Initially it didn't occur that I should be the somebody that should be doing something about this. And I went looking for other organizations, that's literally what I did. And we went all around the world, looking for who can we help? And I thought, okay, what my gift is is I've got the gift of the gab, and I have the ear of a lot of people. Perhaps I could become a spokesperson for somebody and help to raise funds for them. But as we traveled, for me, certain aspects were important. There's a faith aspect that's important. Working and collaborating with local churches is important. So there was some other things in this mix. I just couldn't find any other organization that had all of the pieces of the puzzle that I was looking for to help support and lend my voice too. And then over time, it became obvious that maybe I was supposed to do something about this. So wherever I went, I would begin to talk about it. I would sit down at tables and begin to talk about what I had seen, that we need to do something. And then as normally happens, when you begin to articulate it, when it begins to consume you, you start to find other people that have been consumed by this same thing, or are so inspired by the vision. I'm a really big believer in inspiring people with vision. I think vision goes a long way. I think articulating that with some great steps to how to get there, you're going to get a lot of people on board. I think we've proven that over the last three decades of our life, that you know, just in a month or so, we're going to have literally hundreds of thousands of people walking for freedom all around the world, in over 50 countries in a 24 hour period. Because I think by articulating vision and then being wholeheartedly committed to it yourself. Saying I am willing to leverage everything, to be all in myself in this. Then that really shows people that you're serious about this. And they're going to join that cause with you, and I think be all in themselves. I don't think you can expect anyone to be all in if you're not prepared to be all in.

Yes, I agree 100% and you are all in. unfortunately there's some people that will be all in and they're still not going to attract the people around. And one of the reasons that sometimes I think is the pitch isn't clear and compelling and it... Someone will come to me with an idea and it'll take them 20 minutes to say a lot of nothing. You have to, when you feel so deeply, you have to make sure that you can, in a short period of time, and it's often been said, like an elevator pitch, meaning from the ground up to maybe floor 12, you can say in a few sentences, here's what we believe, here's what breaks our heart, here's what we want to do about it, will you be a part of this with me? And you've always done that so well, you're a master communicator. You speak to hundreds of thousands, millions of people a year. And so you come across as incredibly confident, but you said something earlier, Chris, that stood out to me, you said you're not that confident in so many ways. I would love for you to talk about an area of what we might call leadership insecurity, something that you feel like I'm just not good at. And how do you grow through that? Or do you delegate it? What do you do? What's a big leadership insecurity that you face even today? And what do you do with that as a leader?

I have many, I'm thinking, okay, which one will I say? I think the biggest one for me is literally not thinking that I've got what it takes to do it. You know, Craig, I come from such a broken past, I was left in a hospital unnamed and unwanted when I was born, I am a survivor of sexual abuse for over a decade when I was very, very young. Very marginalized because of my ethnicity, growing up Greek in Australia. So I think a lot of that formed me and shaped me with this sense of, shame was something I had to really overcome in my life. And that would be obvious with someone with my kind of background. And shame is a deep thing, that here I am all of these years later that I have to proactively choose to fight against that, that feeling of that's something fundamentally wrong with me, I am fundamentally flawed, I am fundamentally not going to be able to do this. And that would be something, thank God for my faith journey. And in my case, I encountered a radical relationship with Jesus Christ that has really helped me over the last three decades to be able to renew my mind. But like everybody else, it's not that I'm just telling everyone else, you have to work on your mind and you have to work on your self talk and your affirmations, I have to do it. I always say, I am only ever one thought away from going back to how I used to think. So I have to, with a vigilance, choose every day to remind myself who I am in Christ, to remind myself that through his strength, I can do all things. And that it really isn't about my limitations, it's about who God is and what he can do in and through my life. So that is my driving force. And practically I have to really limit the amount of negativity that comes into my mind. I'm ruthless, I would say, Craig, of how much social media I personally consume. I am ruthless with what kind of news comes into my mind, the kind of people I have in my close inner circle. So I have a very large outer circle, but in terms of my inner circle, and I am very, very grateful that 25 years ago, I married a man who believes in me more than I believe in me. And no matter how many times I've wanted to maybe give up or step back, that Nick has been the greatest encouragement of my life coming alongside me, and certainly encouraging me to keep going. But the biggest battle for me, and I think someone I know wrote a very good book about, the battle that happens in our mind. I would say that still to this day is something that I daily, daily have to choose to renew. I think even when we started A21, I remember going, it was in Greece, I'm going, but I live in Australia, but I don't have $10 million to start an anti-trafficking organization, but this is Russian and Albanian mafia and they kill people. But there is no laws that protect the rights of victims in this region of the world. And there was all of these, but I can't, but I can't, and I would still have to fight that little music that plays in my ear, but you can't, you're not able, you're not good enough, you're not talented enough, you're not gifted enough, you're not resourced enough. I don't know that that tape recorder's ever gone away, but I've just learnt how to mute that if I am on my A game.

Yeah, that's so good. And you flew by it, I want to make sure that those that don't know you well, hear what you said, that you were born in a hospital, unnamed and unwanted, and had left without a home. You suffered, tragically, heartbreakingly, severe sexual abuse, you battled racial tension, and you've overcome so much. And now even with all the global success you have, what you sad is super powerful, you said, now I still choose daily to silence or mute those tapes, renew your mind. And so I hope this an encouragement to someone who has a bunch of buts, I can't do this because of, but, but, but, if Christine's overcome it, and if she has to still work on it to this day, that's an encouragement and admonition to all of us that we haven't arrived, we have to continue to renew our minds, but you can do more than you ever thought possible as a leader. I'm curious, Chris, speaking of insecurities and weaknesses, here's a question I've never asked anybody before, but I'd love to hear your thoughts, when we have a weakness in leadership, sometimes we should develop it and there are other times that we should delegate it. How do you recognize the difference in your leadership If you've got a weakness, do I need to get better here? Or should I empower someone else to do this? How do you differentiate those in your mind in leadership?

And of course for me, I'm going to see some of this through a faith lens. And so, you know, in my case, I'm going to go to God and say, okay, is this something that you're working on me because I need to get stronger in this area? Or is it just a limp that I'm going to have? And there's someone else that doesn't have that limp and they can run and they can do that. And I think one thing, both myself and my husband, and I would say, this is the one thing we've done right in our 25 years of marriage and leadership together, is that we are very good at staffing our weaknesses and not feeling like I have to be good at everything. If I exhaust myself on this earth, just trying to get good at everything, or to overcome every single week rather than understanding that I'm part of something much bigger than myself, and I'm only a part of it, a strategic part, but only a part. Then there are some things where I go, you know, it is okay. I just know that this is not a battle that I have to fight internally. This is something that I need to resource myself externally and be able to staff that area. And it'll actually be better for the organization. It'll be better for the people around me. Craig, you'd be stunned, the caliber of stop at A21 globally. I mean their training, I mean, the PhDs that people have got, the lawyers that we've got, the doctors that we've got, the social workers that we've got, the phenomenal leaders and country directors that we've got, all of them in their own way, way exceed me in their area of specialty. And I think the biggest fight is that you're not insecure thinking you have to be better than everyone at everything. And so to me, it is such a relief, I actually find that it is very relieving for me and I can work on the things I need to work on if I just allow people to flourish in their own strengths. And I don't ever see that as a threat to me. You can give me a corner office, you can give me a slick title, you can call me the Right Reverend Dr. Christine, I either am, or I'm not. And so the fact is I don't have to fight with a title or an office or to have more accolades or degrees than anyone in my organization to feel like I am the leader of the organization.

Well, that's a great answer. And I am always impressed by the quality of the leaders around you at A21 and wherever you are. And that's kind of whenever I assess the potential of an organization, just coming in from the outside, you don't just look at the point leader, you look at the next layer and the next layers of leaders around and the potential of your organization always rests in the strength of the people. And as leaders, a lot of times when we have a weakness, we think, well, I've got to get better here, and there are some weaknesses, I think you'd agree, that we have to improve. If you're a jerk, you can't be a jerk, so you have you have to be nice, you have to care about people. But there are so many weaknesses we have, maybe you're not good at financial projections, or you're not good at reading spreadsheets, or you're not good at vision casting or whatever, that you can delegate those, surround yourself with better people, and make a massive difference, and that's what you're doing. In fact, one of the things that's always at the top of my list of things I love is your contribution through Propel Women. And you're working with so many world-class leaders. I'm interested in what you see in the emerging generation of leaders. I'm guessing that there are some things that would excite you in what you see. And there might be some other things you'd say, if I could tell you one thing, it would be this, could you talk to us about that, Chris, in the emerging generation, what do you see that makes you really optimistic? And what word of coaching would you give to help them be even better?

Sure I love that question, you know, Craig, I'm such a great believer in the next generation, I always have been, I've kind of given my life to them. And I have a 19 year old daughter and I have a 15 year old daughter. So this is very pertinent for me. And I look at them and you know, when you're 55, there's a lot of generations under you. But I think that what some term as the gen Z generation, I have such great faith and such great hope in that generation, because I think their understanding of compassion, of leading with purpose and caring about the world and caring about people, oftentimes, especially in my generation of leadership, it was kind of like, it doesn't matter who you roll over, as long as you get to the top, and as long as you achieve certain things, without thinking through perhaps the ramifications on people, on the environment, on society at large. What I love about the younger generation is they actually care, they care about a lot of issues. The interesting thing is going to be though, that there has to be a willingness to allow the process of leadership formation to take place. Because with the advent of social media and the fact that we can just snap, upload, here we are, that sometimes you could bypass a process that you think is not important because you want to get to the end goal and you want to save the world and help people and advocate and get to the top or become an influencer, whatever that may or may not mean. But all of our leadership flows out of who we are. And so if internally we are broken and fragmented, and if there is a disparity between what's happening on the inside and how we're leading externally, inevitably our world will collapse. There will be something that will make us collapse. I think we're seeing that with even some of the younger generation and certainly older generation, where you go, how were they such a great leader, and now they suddenly lost their platform, or they're suddenly just kind of sidelined, what happened? And more often than not is this internal disparity. We have to deal with what's going on on the inside, our fears, our insecurities, our brokenness, our ego, our narcissism, all of the things that are inherent in humanity. And the fact is if we just think that the end result, it really doesn't matter how we get there, it really does matter. Because what happens is you may get there, but you won't stay there if you haven't really dealt with inner character issues. You know, your gift, your talent, your pizazz, might get you in the room, but only your character will keep you in the room. And so my issue is, I'm in the second half of life now, I want to stay in the room. And so what I've built in my first half, which is character, it's more than the external accomplishments that people see, it's what's happened on the inside. And because there is so much trauma in the world today, there is so much brokenness, a whole generation has come through great trauma. That means internally, our heart, our soul, whatever you want to label it, but our internal world, our psychological world, our mental health, has been traumatized in so many ways. So if we are not committed to getting healing and help on an ongoing basis, not just like I went to therapy for two days, but on an ongoing basis, for some people that might be spiritual direction, for others, that might be a therapist, for others, that might be a life coach, whatever that might be, I've stayed in that process for over 30 years, and so I'm still here today. It doesn't mean I haven't had hiccups, I haven't had failures, I haven't made mistakes, of course I have. But I think because I've got some infrastructure in place to help me stay in place, I'm hopefully gonna make it to the end, that's what I want to do, that's my goal. So a younger generation, if we think it doesn't matter. And oftentimes I think in this world of story, which is awesome, we're very quick to share our stories, but we need to allow some time for that story to have weight and strength and to be proven. And it's one thing to say something today, and then by tomorrow, I'm moving the exact opposite way, or that I've gotten back into patterns of destructive behavior. You've got to give yourself time to prove the work that you've done actually is a sustainable work. We need endurance, that's really, if you're saying, sorry, I'm using a lot of words here, but we will have need of endurance. And you know, you work out, I work out, I'm climbing Mount Whitney in a couple of weeks, which is the tallest mountain in the lower Continental United States. And so I've had to build a whole lot of different muscles to build the endurance, to be able to climb that mountain. It's one thing for me to run a sprint, a whole different muscle set, but I've had to, during this whole pandemic, I've been climbing a lot of smaller mountains, to make my way up to this mountain, because I will have to really rely on a different muscle group. And it's not that I'm concerned, but I would encourage younger leaders to build the muscle group of endurance, which is the one that's not trendy, it's not cool, it's not going to get you a lot of likes, it's not gonna get a lot of shares, because going to have to shut the door in the gym and build those muscles. My trainer's got me working on muscles I did not know existed. And there is nothing awesome about them. I just want the good biceps so that I can snap a good picture and go, this is what 55 year old biceps look like on a chick. And my trainer has got me working on muscles that have got nothing to do with my biceps, but those are the muscles that are going to help me get to the top of that mountain. And not only get to the top, as my mountain climbing coach keeps telling me, Christine, getting to the top is only halfway. In mountain climbing language, that's what they all say. All the books tell you that, all the coaches tell you that, you're only halfway there. So even if people look at what Nick and I have achieved with A21 or with Propel Women, or perhaps with my speaking around the world, technically I'm only halfway. Even if I haven't yet peaked, I might still be going up, but I'm only ever halfway. It's how I've then come down the other side of the mountain that's going to determine whether I was really successful or not.

Yes, that's so powerful. I wish we could unpack about 20 things you said. And wrapping back about what you liked, especially in gen Z, you said they they're full of compassion, they really care. I see that they're also gritty, in gen Z, there's a strong work ethic, there's a willingness to start at the bottom, there's kind of a scrappiness that I like. And I also agree with you, it is interesting that because of the social media world, a leader can often propel into more influence faster today than what was possible for. And I think we agree, that's a good thing. One of the challenges though, is that someone's influence can actually exceed the pace of their experience or character, and that can be tough. And I have like real compassion for someone who's 22, 25, 28 that has great influence, in his invisibility, because there's so much pressure in that. And when we were growing in leadership, we didn't have that external pressure, we were just quietly plowing away and growing. And so it's really, there's no way to short circuit the internal growth that needs to take place in a leader, and you talked about that, the longevity, I want to drill in a little bit on that because I have so much respect for you and Nick, and your longevity, 30 plus years, healthy marriage, great kids, impacting people around the world, and still in the game with joy and a smile on your face. What are some of the secrets to lasting in a leadership culture where unfortunately, so many people aren't, they're falling off the rails, or they're burning out, or making unwise decisions. What are some of the things that you all have done that have helped propel you forward for all these years?

I think, well, first and foremost, you have to know your why. I mean, of course, you know why we got in this in the first place. And that we have really developed healthy rhythms. You talk about, Chris, like you guys are always on the go, and we are, but I have to say that there's healthy rhythms and it all still comes down to dealing with your own insecurities and dealing with your own ambition. There's one thing about having healthy ambition, and there's a real danger in having selfish ambition. And I'm hoping that Nick and I thus far, our ambition has been a healthy one for the cause of helping humanity, and certainly in the faith world of advancing the gospel. Maybe I can give you a picture, we've just come out of the Olympics, so this might be real for people, Craig. I was watching the relay races, I love the relay. And I think how Nick and I even see our leadership and building our organizations, we don't really see it as a sprint, we see it as a relay, hopefully this thing's going to outlast us. And so part of my job is to run with a baton, that I'm not going to carry forever. So I'm always mindful from when we've started every organization, I'm mindful this baton is going to be handed on to somebody else. I'm never thinking this is just going to last for me, that instantly takes some of the pressure off, instantly. 'Cause I've just got to run my leg of the relay and there's other people that are going to run their legs and I don't have to feel the responsibility to run it all. That means I can have a life, we have life for our marriage, we can have vacations, we can have great rhythms, we have a lot of fun in our home. We're involved in incredibly painful work, horrific work, the victims of human trafficking, the reports that I read, I could never even release them to the public, it would just so mess with people's heads. It is deeply gruesome what happens to people. And so I have to have somewhere that we can move out of that and have a bit of a balance of life and see some beauty and goodness and kindness and relaxation, or we will just never make it, or we would become very angry and bitter and then be driven. But you know, Craig in a relay, we would've seen it just now in the Olympics, there's a 20 meter exchange zone. And in that exchange zone, the entire race actually is contingent on that zone, that's the bottom line, is like, it doesn't matter how fast, I Chris Caine run out of the gate, launching A21, putting offices all around the world, raising up leaders, rescuing the victims of trafficking, putting traffickers is in jail, or doing the same with Propel. It really ultimately, if I don't have this long-term, and in my case, an eternal perspective, it doesn't matter how fast I run my first 100 meters, that exchange zone is what matters. So this is now where all the generations matter. And we all have to know that we're in this together. As I'm running into that exchange zone, I'm holding a baton, so I'm expecting that there's somebody in that exchange zone, and at some point, they're going to take off running, they're not even looking back at me anymore, we've got this thing so synced so well, that they're just waiting for me to put that baton in their hand. And they're going to run with that baton the next leg of the race. Now here is the deal, there is a one second point. They've got to be running full speed without a baton. So there is a younger generation, that at some point, you've got to be already doing it before I'm going to be putting this baton in your hand because I need to know that you can carry the weight of this baton so that it's going to last the next leg of the race. Unfortunately, what we have is a whole lot of young people that are standing there going, I don't like that particular baton, I want the other colored Baton, that's not what I feel I want to... Well, so then I can't give you that one because it's like, you're not ready to carry the weight of this, I'm ready to give you this one, go running with it. Now, then you also have the problem with some people in my generation that are going, I don't want to let go of this baton. So now you've just blown the whole next leg of the race because you've held on too long. So Nick and I are always navigating, what do we need to delegate? What do we need to hold up? That's a dance, I mean, that's a nuanced dance that is not easy, but if we want the vision to keep going forward, I've got to know that person's running, they're ready for this baton. I know this person wants this particular color baton, but they're not yet ready to carry the weight of that. And if I give them that office, that office might fall apart, and we're going to have to start way back from scratch all over again. So we're always doing that dance. And you don't want them to drop the baton, if you drop the baton in the exchange zone, you're disqualified. You hand the baton outside of the exchange zone, you're disqualified. I think the dance of leadership and longevity and long-term is the dance of that 20 meter exchange zone, of being able to have a seamless exchange in all of the myriad of different exchanges that are happening every day for a leader. You've got to make your mind up, and knowing which baton to hand over at what time, and then this thing just soars and you will always way outdo more than you could ever do. And people are looking at you going, this is awesome, and I'm laughing going, oh no, no, no, all I'm doing is standing in the exchange zone, knowing which batons to hand off.

That's brilliant, it's brilliant. And it's been said before that ministry or leadership, it's not a sprint, it's a marathon. And I think that's a great way to look at it. So we're running a long race and running with other people. And the metaphor might break down a little bit, but I visualize giving out hundreds or even more batons, meaning when the people are running full speed, and they're fully engaged, they've earned the right. And it's an honor to say, I believe you can run this next lap faster and better and not just giving one to one runner, I know this blows the metaphor, but I want to give them lots and lots of leadership runners. And so I love that you do that, and you've done that with leaders all over the world. I've got to hear about your book and I'm gonna try to show the book right here. "How did I get here"? This question, and the subtitle is kind of piercing because I know there's so many people. And Chris, one of my goals is to introduce our community to world-class leaders and you are, and bring resources that can really change people's lives. Every book I've ever read of yours has been gold. The subtitle of this one, how did I get here? Some leaders are asking that even now, finding your way back to God when everything is pulling you away. There's gotta be a story behind this book, can you tell us a little bit of the story.

I'll tell you, it happened sort of around 2016, 2017, what happened in 2016. Everything was sort of flourishing with our organizations, with our ministry. And then I had my 50th birthday party and I was out with a whole lot of friends celebrating, came home that night, Craig, and there were 26 missed phone calls from my brother in Australia to tell me that that same night my mum had died. And it was kind of like, you know, life for all of us. It's always the best of times, the worst of times, often at the same time. And I was in the midst of all of this and in a very short period of time, my sister-in-law, my brother's wife, she died, she was my age, my husband's, one of Nick's sisters died, and one of Nick's brother-in-laws died. So in a three-month period, we were back and forth to Australia, there was funerals, it's just a time of grief and loss, so many people right now have experienced so much of all of this. But it was compounded by the fact that around that time I had a personal friend that, we were running together, I felt a real sense of betrayal from this person. Now I'm very thick skinned, but I'm tenderhearted. And like anybody, for someone to be able to betray you, they've got to be close to you in some way, whether it's at work or relationally. And it really knocked me, knocked to be in a way that, especially from a Christian perspective, David once wrote in the Psalms, it would have been easy if it was my enemy that was against me. But when it was my friend that, it just like knocked the wind out of me. And then, I don't know if you remember Craig, around 2016, 2017 in particular, if you were any kind of public figure, the world was so volatile, there was so much going on. I remember just waking up every day, thinking, who am I going to disappoint today? Because it didn't matter if I said something or didn't say something, Everybody expected me to be a world expert on everything, whether it was immigration, whether it was on politics, whether it was on scientific discoveries, or medical discovery. I'm like, I'm not an expert on everything, I've got my lane, I've been very good. But again, here's the flip side of social media people think because you might be public in one area, that you all suddenly need to be an expert or have something to say publicly on all areas. And so if you said something, you had a group of people that were against you, if you didn't say something, you had another group of people that were against you. And if you were somewhere in the middle, everyone, it was like... And I just remember there was this time all of this was happening, I was going through my own emotional things. And I think obviously with my mother passing away, for me, it triggered things to do with my adoption, with my biological mother, with being abandoned, all of those things. And I remember one night I came home and Nick, Nick to relax, watches Netflix series on the Navy SEALs, like whatever, and he was watching this series on hell week. And I didn't even know what hell week was, but now I understand, it's this week where all of the elite of the elite get into this week, where basically you get to either be a Navy SEAL or not. And so they try to break you down mentally, physically, I mean, I couldn't believe it, no sleep, you're doing all of these assignments that are just crazy physically. And then you've got someone yelling at you the whole time telling you that you're a loser and you're not going to make it. And obviously the goal is to break you down there, because if you can break there, you need to break there, so you don't break on the front line. So I understood it, but I was watching this one scene, Craig, and they dropped the guys from a helicopter into the freezing cold Pacific Ocean, they had to swim miles to shore, they hadn't slept all week, and then complete this assignment. And I used to always say, we are the Navy SEALs, we're on the frontline, we're rescuing victims of trafficking, we are putting traffickers in jail, we're helping to empower women, you know, all of the things. And I started crying, which is very unlike me. My husband looked at me, 25 years of marriage, like, why are you crying with some guys being dropped out of a helicopter? And I said to him in that moment, I think this is how I feel. I feel like spiritually speaking, I've been dropped out of a helicopter, I'm in the ocean, and I know I can do this, I know that I've got the match fitness, maybe I've got the mental fitness, I know that I could swim to shore, I could complete the assignment, I could get the thing done. I said, I know I can, but for the first time in 30 years, I don't know if I want to. And I had never said those words coming out of my mouth. I've often said, I don't know if I can, very different to I know I can, I don't know if I want to. I said, I just feel like taking my foot off the gas. And I said, here is the deal, I've got so much momentum from the last three decades, most people wouldn't even know I took my foot off the gas. I could still continue to post nice posts, and as long as I don't do anything dumb and stupid, and you know, I just keep doing it. I can go buy a taverna in Santorini, I could serve people baklava, and just watch the sunset over The Caldera. And I've got enough momentum and there's enough going on that I could take my foot off the gas. Now for me, in my faith leader space, this was my moment, I said to Nick and nobody would really even know. And then through my tears, I just said, but you know what? Jesus would know. He would know that I took my foot off the gas. He would know that I didn't for me, lay ahold of all of that, for which he had laid ahold of me. He would know that I didn't run to the finish line. It doesn't matter what everybody else thinks. And I had to come back to moment and then out loud, I said to him, how did I get here? How did I get to this place where I'm thinking, I don't know if I want to keep my foot on the gas. It's not like running at the same pace, it's being all in, in my heart and not setting up protections and public protections, and not really running and just taking the easy option, which still would have been applauded by people. People would be like, you've done so much and you're doing great and it's awesome. But I would know as a leader, I would know for the assignment that I've got on this planet, that I didn't keep my foot on the gas the whole way. And that was really out of that, around the same time, there was a lot of, and there still is to this day, a lot of people either walking away from jobs or leadership or even their faith, very publicly, walking away from things. And I started to think a lot of us are asking the question, how did I get here? Where somewhere did we lose our anchor? Where did we lose our why? And what it showed me is that I had drifted. Now there's a particular passage in the book of Hebrews that says, let us pay much closer attention, lest we also drift. And there is mission drift, there is leadership drift, there is faith drift, there's marriage drift. Because Craig, all you have to do to drift is nothing. I mean, Nick and I, in our marriage, we can drift, I don't have to have an affair, we just don't do anything, don't tend to it, and it'll drift. In my leadership, for the whole organization to drift, I don't have to do anything bad, I just have to do nothing. And really the essence of the book is in most of life, whether it's professionally, relationally, emotionally, spiritually, most of us drift not so much because of what we have done, but because we've stopped doing certain things, that's really the essence of the message.

That's really powerful, and I could imagine, it really is, when we get exhausted, when we get worn down, or after we've done it for a long time, it is easy to think I could just coast. And so the title of the book is "How Did I Get Here"? If you're looking for some encouragement, if you find yourself overwhelmed or discouraged, this book, I believe will speak life into you. You want to have a little bit of fun, Chris, I'm going give you some lightening questions.

Yeah, let's go.

We'll go fast, I know you generally eat well, but if you're going to cheat, what are you gonna cheat on?

Hot chips, fries in America.

Hot chips, hot fries.

Childhood nickname.

The Greek.

The Greek. What do you do that gets on Nick's nerves?

Talk about the one thing over and over and over.

I can hear Nick laughing in the background, I can imagine. What's your biggest leadership pet peeve?

When people don't take responsibility for what they do.

Last time you got really nervous in a leadership moment, what made you nervous?

When I had to log on to our global offices, when the whole world shut down last March, 2020, and I had to speak hope and faith when nobody knew what was about to happen next.

Yep, I relate Most essential trait that you look for in a potential hire?

Passion.

Good. Besides "How Did I Get Here"? Your latest book. What's your favorite book that you've written?

"Unexpected".

Yup, that's a great one. Best book you've read in the last year or so?

"The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry" by John Mark Comer.

Yeah, I read that one, it messed me up too. Yeah, that was a good one. Best leadership advice you have for an emerging leader?

Commit to the process and trust the process of leadership development.

On a personal note, I just want to say to you and Nick, on behalf of my family, thank you for your commitment to the process. You've been an inspiration to us for years and years, and we love you, admire what you're doing, feel an honor just to play a small role in all of your different ministry impacts around. And I just want to say thank you to you, thank you to Nick, thank you to all your team. And highlight again, the book is called, "How Did I Get Here"? It's out now in stores. And for those of you that are listening or watching that may not have known Chris before, if you're interested in A21 or Propel Women, they can learn more at christinecaine.com. And a big, thank you, Chris, you're world-class.

Craig, we love you. You know, Nick and I love you and Amy and your whole family. So it's actually nice to be running with people that you actually really love.

Well, we feel the same way. For those of you that want to learn more, I hope that you do dig into all of Christine's teaching. If you're new with us, we release a brand new teaching on the first Thursday of every month. If you're not getting The Leader Guide, I would encourage you to do that. Go to life.church/leadershippodcast. Give us your email and we'll send you the Monthly Leader Guide. Also, it would mean the world to me, if this is helpful to you, if you'd write a review or rate the content that gives it more exposure and hit subscribe. We've got really new and helpful content coming your way. And if you liked this, hey tag, Christine, if this interview was helpful, @Christinecaine, tag me, and we may repost you. What we want to do is spread the word and help people grow in their leadership, because we know that everyone wins when the leader gets better.
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