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Watch 2022 online sermons » Craig Groeschel » Craig Groeschel - Attacking Anxiety in Leadership (Q&A with Shawn Johnson)

Craig Groeschel - Attacking Anxiety in Leadership (Q&A with Shawn Johnson)

Craig Groeschel - Attacking Anxiety in Leadership (Q&A with Shawn Johnson)
Craig Groeschel - Attacking Anxiety in Leadership (Q&A with Shawn Johnson)
TOPICS: Leadership Podcast, Anxiety

Hey welcome Shawn.

Hey, thank you for having me.

I've been looking forward to this for a long time. I have too, thank you. We have so many offline conversations that are incredibly meaningful to me, and every time we talk, I walk away with new insight or I'm asking better questions. And so I'm super excited to introduce our leadership community to those that haven't heard of you yet. And so we know that you are a pastor, we know you're an author. Congratulations on your new book, "Attacking Anxiety". I'll show it to the camera from panicked and depressed to alive and free. Unfortunately, this isn't a case study of other people.

I wish it was, I really wish it was.

Yeah, well, we'll get into that because I know right now, the leaders that I'm talking to are dealing with more anxiety and stress than I've ever seen in all my years of leadership. But first, just on a more personal note for fun, what are you doing? Are you boxing, kicking? What are you doing now?

I just started boxing.


And I say it's for fun. I leave and go, I'm paying to be tortured on a consistent basis. But I absolutely love it.

You love it, what do you love about it?

I love that, I can't think about work or problems or issues, or like, it is so hard for me just to figure out the footwork and try to not get hit and do the right combinations that I have to leave everything else in life behind for about an hour, hour and a half. And it's really good for me.

I'm finding that we know that healthy distractions for leaders, that's always important. But in this season right now, anytime I'm working with someone that is really stressed and anxious, I'm advising find something that disengages your mind.


For you it's something like boxing for someone else that might be putting puzzles together or making stuff in the garage or whatever, but you gotta find something. And, and especially if it's something that you're having to learn, I think it's way better.

Well, and I used to say that going to the gym was my outlet. The problem was, is I would work while I was at the gym. Right. I would listen to leadership podcast. I would be taking notes. I'd be thinking about what's coming next week. And so I was working out, but not disengaging.


And that's what I love about boxing is I can't think of anything else about that.

I completely understand, I did two lessons boxing and now I'm back to jujitsu. 'Cause boxing was too hard. It was incredibly complicated.

Well, and I feel the same about jujitsu 'cause I've done a few jujitsu lessons.


And got my arm about twisted off. And went, I think I'll box.

So if we get in a fight, you're gonna try to stay on your feet and I'm gonna try to take you down. That is how it's gonna go.

I'm probably just gonna run, let's be honest.

Hopefully we don't have to do that. So I wanna say Sean, that I absolutely, and sincerely have so much admiration for you as a leader.

Thank you.

Seeing you in your environment is really special. You've got unbelievable leadership instincts. You've got a world class team of people, many of which wouldn't be considered traditional leaders, which I like.


Like you pick people out of obscurity and invest in them and make them great. And you have with a lot of people over years and with the help of someone that's a lot stronger than us, built the largest church in all of Colorado.


Which is incredibly special, in the middle of that, you were running well, doing a lot of good things and then I hate to go straight for the jugular in it. But I think that's why we're here because I think this is gonna be most helpful. You kind of hit a wall.


Can you tell me a little bit about what happened?

Yeah, so I had been feeling, I'd been dealing with anxiety and depression for 15, 20 years and always felt embarrassed by it, felt more embarrassed by it when I got saved, when I gave my life to God and started hanging around churches, talking about peace and joy and freedom and realizing, I don't think I have those things. So I just hid it for a long time. And then our organization, we doubled in size the first four years and at our four year mark, the guy that I co-founded it with quit. And I started feeling like, my chest is getting tight a lot. I would just walk around the office and be like, I'm not breathing in very often and started going, oh my gosh, I think I'm having anxiety and I'll never forget. It was the first time anyone had ever done a magazine writeup about our organization. And he said, one of the first questions was, did you ever think you'd be this successful? And what he didn't know is that day, I had went to my doctor's office in downtown Denver, shaking and crying thinking I was dying. And he was like, you're not dying. You're having a panic attack. And he put me on anti-anxiety medications. And so on the outside, everything looked great. The organization was growing. I was really struggling on the inside, but scared to death to show it because I thought if I show it, how would that affect the organization?

Right, there's so many things I wanna dive a little bit deeper into, because first of all you said you doubled, double, double, double four years straight, which is hard on any leader.

Yeah. Then I thought when you're flat, that's hard on any leader. And then I thought, when you're declining, that's hard on any leader.

That's it.

And what my point is that there are very few seasons of leadership where it's not just challenging, right. And the other thing is, so, you can have stress, you can have anxiety in any type of season. The thing that I wanna try to hit on, because I can imagine a lot of leaders listening to it, I mean, we're just barely getting warmed up there and going, oh my gosh, this guy's reading my mail. Why do you think it is that as leaders, we don't feel comfortable being vulnerable about being human.

Gosh, that's such a good question. When I started, I had never led anything in my life. We just had an idea in my mind, I gotta kind of be 10 feet tall in Bulletproof for people to wanna follow me. If they see me as weak, why would they wanna follow me? If they see me as not being able to handle the pressure, why would they wanna follow me? That that's what I thought. And so I was always scared to death, to like not have the right answers, not have the right plan. And I was really scared to death to let him to know how I was kind of unraveling on the inside. That to me felt like such a weakness. And as a leader, I've always been competitive and I wanna be strong and I want to go and I wanna conquer and I wanna build. And none of those words work well with anxiety and depression on the inside. And so I always felt like it was such a, it was something that I so didn't want to be. So I just didn't want to admit it. And I didn't want anyone else to know.

So you kept it quiet and you kept getting magazine articles written about you continue to grow, continue to see lives, change, continue to add staff, continue to build buildings. And the pressure stayed the same mounted.

You know, it's funny when we started, probably like pretty much everybody listening. When you start, you have dreams of growing. What I found was every time we would grow, the pressure would increase. And I kept thinking, at what point are these people gonna find out that I don't really know what I'm doing? And the bigger the organization got, the more pressure I felt to keep up the act that I know what I'm doing. And I'm really confident, and I wasn't, I was always struggling with confidence and that was adding to the anxiety. And so as the organization grew, my fear of people finding out how I was struggling grew. So I kept trying to hide it more and more.

I wanna reference a couple of times an article. I'm gonna recommend this article along with your book, "Attacking Anxiety", which is incredibly raw.

Yeah it is.

Transparent and helpful, which I appreciate. And there's a Harvard Business Review article called Leading Through Anxiety. And I'm gonna quote it a couple times. Part of it says this, it says in the US, anxiety is the most common mental illness, affecting more than 40 million adults each year. Studies show that about 30% of Americans will experience clinical anxiety at some point in their lives. But I'd like to know Sean is, and little spoiler alert for our community is that you did have a breakdown.


And many leaders do. We wanna try to avoid that, but before the break ground, what did you know about anxiety?

Very little to be honest, I knew that I had it and what I thought I knew was so incorrect. What I thought I knew was, I'm really broken on the inside and most people won't understand this. And so I just gotta hide it. And, and I knew very little about it. Other than it was getting, a few years before I had my full on breakdown, I had this feeling all the time of I'm running so fast and struggling so much on the inside. Like this is on a timer, I can't do this forever. I don't know how long I can, but I knew like, I can't do this long term. I don't know what's got to change and I didn't know how to change it. And I knew very little about it.

This is a very reason why I wanted to have you on the podcast, because very thankful that I'm friends with some leaders that give me the gift of transparency, meaning we take off the kind of leader show and just talk about the here's where I'm hurting part. And there's so many of them that say almost exact same thing. As you, I don't know how much longer I can keep this up. I don't know if I can go the distance. When is it gonna unravel? Am I gonna end up curled up in a ball? I mean there's literally this ongoing fear. And so I wanna dive deeper into what you learned, hear a little more of your story. And I wanna read to you a quote, and then we're gonna go deeper into what you went through. This again is through that same article that talks about anxiety has a purpose. So this is a paraphrase from the quote from the article I referenced before. And it goes like this, this is my paraphrase. We're no longer pray a wild animals, but to the damage of our self-esteem ostracism by our group or threat of losing out in a competitive struggle. So the authors say, basically the form of anxiety has changed. In other words, we're not running for our lives from animals attacking, but the experience is similar that we aren't faced by predators. We're chased by leadership uncertainties were chased by staff challenges, by health issues, by worries that provoke the same neurological and physical responses. So if you're saying anxiety can be a good thing. But yet we're experiencing the same thing, is anxiety good, was it ever good in your life?

Well, so it's interesting because I thought when I had in 2019, you know, I had this, I just fell apart, lost it. Had to go check myself into a seven week anti-anxiety counseling treatment center, had to take several months off work. I thought the goal was get anxiety all the way out of my life. And it was really interesting. I was talking to a counselor one day and he said, you don't want that. You don't actually want to get rid of all of your anxiety. And I was like, what? What he called it was, he said, there's facilitating anxiety. And then there's debilitating anxiety. He said, facilitating anxiety is a gift from God. It's that thing that used to keep us safe from wild animals. Right now it's like, okay, don't drive 120 miles an hour next to the guardrail going up, Pikes Peak Mountain. I live in Littleton. Don't walk on certain paths with your kids without being on high alert, 'cause there's just rattlesnakes up there. But he said it, something that I thought was real interesting. He said, it also helps you perform at your best. It's like a batter stepping into a batter's box and you get those jitters. It's making a big sale. It's having an important conversation. It's the things that we do when we want to be performing at our best, like we don't wanna get rid of that. And I think for leaders, there's a really good benefit to some facilitating anxiety, right, because like the rattlesnake analogy, if I'm leading my family on a path, I'm the one in front looking around the corner, I'm looking for risks, I'm looking for opportunities. I'm looking for a better trail. Well, I wanna do that with my organization. I wanna be the guy that's on high alert. I'm looking for risks, I'm looking for pitfalls. I'm also looking for opportunities. So I think there's some really good stuff with that facilitating anxiety. It's when it goes too far and all of a sudden I can't live my life normal anymore. That's when it turns to debilitating.

That makes sense.


And so your book title could have been a lot of things. You could have said managing anxiety. Avoiding anxiety, neutralizing anxiety. Why'd you use the word attack?

For me, I had a conversation with someone who does what I do for a living, but they're ahead of me in the game. They've been doing it for longer. And I was telling him about all of my panic attacks and depression and all the stuff I was dealing with. And he said, you know, maybe it's time to stop blaming yourself for this stuff. And maybe it's time to start fighting back. And when he told me that something like rose up on the inside of me, like, that's what I need to do. And so for me, it's kind of an offensive versus defensive thing, for probably 20 years, the way I dealt with anxiety was, I'll wait till I feel anxious. And then I'll figure out how to live through it. If you flip it, I'm gonna go. No, I know the things that make me anxious. I know when anxiety's going to be more prevalent in my life, so I'm gonna be proactive and I'm gonna do some things ahead of time to get ahead of the curve. And so I'm not just playing defense all the time, but now I'm gonna go play offense and actually get to walk in some freedom.

That's so good. I've been blessed to no credit my own to not battle with a lot of anxiety until I did.


And it came outta nowhere probably three years ago and my body almost shut down. And so interestingly enough, and I wanna say this to some leaders because when you're hurting, I used to want someone to come rescue me. Like I thought someone's gonna come help me. Someone's gonna save me from me. And what I had to recognize kind of in your vein is that there is no one else who can stop me from me. There is no one else coming. And if you're dealing with anxiety and if you feel like a victim, you're always gonna be a victim. It's always gonna beat you. And so that's what I like about your book is that you just said, even though you really were curled up in a ball, like for sure, you said I have to fight back and you have to do something about it. So I wanna hear a little bit more about that. Can you, as much as you feel comfortable. Because I know it's a very intimate story and not something that you like to shout from the rooftops because you are a strong leader, but you had a weak moment. Very weak moment. How much of that are you willing to tell us about when you did breakdown?

Anything you wanna know.

Tell us what happened.

It was 2019. I had been starting to have panic attacks fairly frequently. I'd just be in a restaurant and start feeling claustrophobic. Mine always started with the feeling of being trapped, whether it was trapped in a situation, trapped in a room, trapped in a car. And so I was starting to have these, then I started feeling trapped in my job. And oddly enough, it was the success of our organization that started making me feel trapped because the organization starts to succeed. You get better and better at what you're doing. And then you feel like, well, now this is all I can really ever do probably for the rest of my life now, because it's going so well, what else am I gonna do? And that started making me feel trapped, driving down the street one day, my chest starts getting tight. I start feeling real claustrophobic, I'm in my truck. And I could tell like, this panic attack was just different. And I honestly felt like I was gonna suffocate. I started shaking, I started crying. I started getting super claustrophobic, 'cause like I just had to get outta my car and I didn't know where to go. And so I literally just pulled my car over on the side of the highway in Denver. I called Jill, I said like babe. And she knew exactly, 'cause she knows. And she's like, oh my gosh, are you okay? And I said, I'm not. And she said, can you make it home? And I said, I can't. And then I said, please pray. And I hung up, in retrospect, probably not the best way to handle that with her. But I was literally walking along the highway in Denver, crying and shaking, sort of just yelling to the air, yelling to God. My wife knew where I was coming from, her and a couple friends came and found me. I don't know how long I was there. And the first thing I said, when they showed up is, I quit. I can't do it, I can't take the pressure. I can't do this. I didn't even wanna live. I got so bad that, and it's so silly when you look back, 'cause you go man on paper, you have so many great aspects of life. So many blessings in life, but it got so dark that I just was like, I just don't wanna even wanna live anymore. And I had started to convince myself, my anxiety is so bad. I think the people I love would be better off without me. And then it got real dark, which is why I went, I need to go get counseling.

Well I wanna say thank you for sharing that. There's not a lot of leaders of your caliber that would, and then especially we have a lot of pastors in our audience. That might feel like they don't have the permission to be that real because they might be viewed as a spiritual failure. And I do just wanna say to our community right now, because I can imagine that there is a portion of people that are kind of on the edge like that. And what we wanna do is before we break down, We wanna open up.


And I don't know how to say it, but just directly, like if you know that's your trajectory, let's stop today and let's talk to some people that we can trust.


And let's get help before we need real help.

Yeah, and that's part of the attacking anxiety, right? It's let's not wait, I had to learn this the hard way. Let's not wait till you absolutely fall apart, to have somebody in your life that you're talking to.

So the great news is here we are, what? Three years later.


And you are crushing it again. As a leader, you're doing fantastic. But you have some new tools. Without the tools you wouldn't be. And so if you fast forward from the breakdown to today, you are back in the game. On top, making a big difference. Can you tell us a little bit about what are some of the tools you picked up? What did you learn? That's helping you today because you're not anxiety free.


But you are attacking it. And leveraging it to make a difference.

In fact, that that's actually something that's really important. When I went to counseling, some of the people in my life, even my wife, they just love me and want the best for me, they would say things to me like I can't wait until you're healthy. Well then all of a sudden I have this pressure on me that like, I can't leave counseling till I'm better. I might be here forever. And one of my counselors was like, no, no, no, the goal is not healthy, the goal is healthier. You're healthier, you're better. You're stronger, and that's where I'm at for sure. But it's still a battle, I'm just better and healthier and stronger.

Yeah, what is something you do today you didn't do before that's helping you be healthier today than you were yesterday?

One of the biggest things is just not hiding it anymore. Hiding it was the worst thing I could ever do. And I thought I was doing everyone in my life a favor by hiding it. I thought I was doing our organization a favor by hiding it. After I stopped hiding, it started getting some help, started getting a little better, healthier and stronger. Once I circled back and started having real talks with our staff, what I learned is, they didn't know what was going on with me, but they knew I was more irritable. They knew I was turning into somewhat of a tyrant. They knew I was really hard to approach. They knew I was pretty standoffish. Like they were seeing a bunch of things in me that were making it harder for them to follow me. And I'm thinking I'm doing them all a favor by hiding it. Once I was honest with them and was like, man, I've been really hurting, I've been really struggling. I'm gonna go get some help. I came back, did a lot of apologizing. All the relationships that I thought would get worse if I was honest, are now all better. Closer are teams more human closer, our team's more united. Our organization has never been moving at a faster pace. And I don't have to hide the fact that this is a real thing for me. And sometimes I have to step away from things and go, hey, I have to monitor my mental health a little bit. I used to just go a hundred miles an hour with my hair on fire until I crashed. Now I go, okay. I know we've got a busy three months coming up. So I'm going to not, I'm not gonna let it hit me. And then go, now what? I'm gonna look at my calendar, get proactive and go, me and my wife are gonna go away for four days in three months of a hundred miles hair on fire. 'Cause I'm gonna take care of my mental health before. It's an issue this time.

Right, and interestingly enough, so there's like, I got 100 things I wanna say about this, 'cause it's so rich. When you were transparent with your team, they didn't respect you less, they trusted you more. Right, which is powerful. The other thing that many leaders don't understand is by you publicly showing how you have to work to take care of yourself. You give permission to and empower your team to do the same thing.


Because they don't necessarily know how, nor do they necessarily feel permission to.

What I found was when I finally went to our staff, we have a little over 100 employees, when I went to our staff and started sharing openly and honestly about my struggles, all of a sudden they felt like, oh my gosh, I don't have to hide my struggles. I can share some of this too. And it has started this domino effect of, and we've always said like, we wanna operate like a family. We've never been more of a family than we are now because we're actually bearing one another's burdens. 'Cause we actually know what each other's burdens are.

Right. So we say it in the podcast a lot that people would rather follow a leader who's always real than one who is always right. We could put a lot of other words in there. We could say people would rather follow a leader's always real than one who's always strong. Or one who's always confident or one who shows no weakness. People really do genuinely connect emotionally with authenticity, more than great outward leadership qualities. We wanna, we wanna believe in the person, not just their gifts.


And you're giving them insight into who you are as a person.

And I didn't know that, and to be honest, I thought it would go the opposite direction. I thought people would leave. I thought people would lose a lot of respect. And what I found is people like, we've never banded together more than we are right now. And I think there is, there's that like, I thought they wanted to follow a superhero. I think what they actually wanna follow as a human.


Who cares about them and has a good future in mind for all of us.

Exactly. So I wanna wrap back to something you said earlier when I was asking about the tools, you said something, I wish I could quote you exactly. But you said something like just, admitting it is. And so one thing I've learned is I'm not a counselor, but I did have two whole counseling classes in seminary. Right. And I have worked with a lot of people and I read a lot, one of the things I've learned, and I don't understand the why behind it, but I do believe it's true, is that when you label an emotion, there's something about that that's incredibly powerful. And here's what I found is a lot of leaders don't like the label anxiety because there's a shaming sense to it or guilty something. And so I read one article one time that I thought was helpful. It said, if you don't like that label, label it something else, but label it.

Call it something.

Call it something, call it stress, call it unease, call it I'm unsettled. But when you label it, that gives you a sense of it's outside of you. You can see it, then you have a strategy toward it. And so I think in wrapping back up all the brilliance of what you're saying to our community, I wanna say a couple things is, is be aware of it early.


Ask for help early label it, call it something so that there is an external enemy to attack, to grow through. And then don't feel like you have to keep it to yourself. I don't know very many people who I don't even know. Is it possible to overcome it in isolation? I don't know that it is because we heal better in community.

I definitely agree, we heal better in community. I couldn't overcome it in isolation. And you know, when you were saying about labeling things, it's interesting, in that seven weeks of inpatient counseling, the first two hours of every day was classwork on how to practically deal with anxiety and depression. And one of the things that helps in the middle of a panic attack is to actually label it and go, this is just a feeling, this is not who I am and it is going to pass.

And in your book "Attacking Anxiety", one of the things you wrote about was so many leaders, so many people, they suffer silently. And you talked a lot about that. What's interesting to me about your story is I'm grateful you trusted me on the early end, just to be a voice of encouragement, support and prayer for you. But you pro you had to keep the circle a little bit tight. In the early season, I'm interested in your wife, Jill, who is world class like me, you out punted your coverage, 100%, and your boys, what parts did they play in your getting healthier?

So in my hiding again, I wanna be her night and shining armor. Well, that guy can't have anxiety and depression.


I wanna be my three boys. I wanna be their hero. Well, that guy can't have anxiety and depression. So again, I'm trying to hide it. When I finally had that huge breakdown, the next morning I woke up and my first temptation was, let's just keep rolling. It was a bad day, real bad day, but let's keep rolling. But then I was like, no, I have to do something about this. I can't keep living this way. I sat down with my boys and I said, guys, I think I need to check myself into this center. And I actually started crying. I was like, I'm gonna miss a bunch of your football games and I'm gonna miss you doing this and I'm gonna miss you doing this. And I'll never forget. One of my sons looked at me and he goes, dad, we've watched you deal with anxiety our whole lives, go get help. I thought I was hiding it from them, I wasn't. They knew and sharing the depths of it with my wife was game changing for our relationship. What a lot of people do that I've talked to with anxiety and depression is usually at some point it's so bad you can't fully hide it. So we share about 90% of it. Yeah, I got a little anxiety. Yeah, I'm feeling a little depressed. You know, we'll get through it. When I went with that last 10%, and I'm talking about pastor Craig, like when I went like, hey babe, when everybody goes to sleep and I can't, sometimes I think about ending my life. Like it gets that dark. When I went all the way there with her, I'll never forget. We had this moment, she said, one morning when I was in that counseling center, we were outside talking and she said, I really believe you're gonna get better. And I said, what if I don't? And her response was, I'm not going anywhere. I remember thinking, that's the most loved I think I've ever been in my whole life because I finally let her know everything. And I've seen it with my family. I've seen it with our organization. The more real I've been willing to be, which is super scary. The more it's bonded us together.

This is kind of odd. Like this sincerely makes me emotional because I care for your family so much. And our leadership community, I mean, there's hundreds of thousands of people that'll listen to podcasts. And I don't know very many of them, but I like love, love, love them. And I know that so many are hurting right now. Just it's really rare to have a conversation with the leader. That's not struggling right now. And what you said is so important, you said you went to the last 10%. I just kind of wanna beg our leaders out there to recognize that when you're hurting, you're not alone, especially in this climate and it's not worth doing, if we can't go the final 10%, like there's no, there's not enough outward success. Inward validation, social media, applause, money in the bank, notoriety, power popular. There's not enough of it that ever can satisfy. If you don't have a few people, you can go the whole 100% way.

Yep. And I just applaud you for doing that. And I'm gonna ask a question that I don't like when people ask me, so I apologize. Someone asked me the other day, I put a post up when I was leading and preaching at the age of like 23. And they said, what would you tell that guy, that younger version of you in five minutes? And I thought, I don't even know where I'd start. I don't even know. I have no idea what I tell like, good luck, you know? Like, yeah. It's gonna be, I don't, I don't know what I'd say.


But I want to ask you this because I want you to talk to some leaders ahead of time. But if you could go back to that young entrepreneurial Sean, and what I'm visualizing right now is I'm visualizing the person who's starting a business. I'm visualizing the entrepreneur. I'm visualizing a person who's creating content. I'm visualizing a youth pastor. I'm visualizing a person who feels called to ministry. I'm visualizing someone that's gonna go dig water wells. And they're gonna start. I'm visualizing someone who's organization has doubled four years in a row. And someone who is struggling right now, and they're staring at a mountain of anxiety and don't know what to do. If you could go back to young Sean, knowing now the outward success that he would experience with the inward struggle, would you tell him.

I would tell him, you are enough, and you're broken and you can be both. You don't have to hide all your faults and flaws from the people you love or the people you're leading. I would tell him to be very proactive about getting some people in your life that are a little bit ahead of the game in whatever it is you want to be good at. If you wanna be good at being a parent, a husband, a CEO, whatever it is, find somebody who's a little bit ahead of the game, whose character you trust and whose competency you respect and ask them questions. Be honest with them about your hurts. Be honest with them about your fears. I hid so much in my life trying to impress people. And it all stemmed from growing up feeling like I was not enough. And so I'm gonna go build a big, great organization, and I'm gonna feel like I'm enough. I thought I had to pretend to be perfect to do that. And it actually just made it harder.

Very powerful, and so to every leader listening, you have what it takes to do what you're called to do, and you're still broken.


And we always will be yep in this life, we're always gonna be flawed. We're always gonna have struggles. And we always have the gifts and not just us, it's never just us, but the people around us, the insight, the wisdom to learn, what a great day and age that we live in.


That we have access, what a gift to our leadership community that you would bring your story, your experience and offer it. And so thank you.

Thank you.

Just on a little lighter note. For a little lightning round.

Yes, hit me.

Yeah 'cause Sean's really fun.

We got serious on this thing.

I've been in some places with it when he actually embarrass me around people being kind of like, not necessarily a pastoral meaning guy.


Having fun, lightning round, just for fun. You live in Denver, Colorado for our international audience. They may not know. There's a lot of snow in a lot of mountains. So skiing or snowboarding?


Okay, you were of the newer generation of cool kids.

Well, not really, I've blown out both my ACLs playing sports in college until my doctor was like, don't ever ski. Just learn to snowboard. I'm very mediocre, but I do it.

Way back to when you were a kid, what was the best sitcom, childhood favorite sitcom?

The two things that pop up immediately are Facts of Life and Fresh Prince of Bell Air.

Classic, Facts of Life. I always felt a little guilty watching that one. Like I was earning stuff I shouldn't, I was too young.

Blair, was she on that show?

I remember the name Blair, but I'm afraid to say if that was one you should have been in love with or not.

I don't remember, maybe that's the wrong show.

I don't remember, something new you've tried in the last year.


Boxing, yep. Very good, and biggest personal leadership insecurity you still face.

A lack of confidence in myself.

Okay, so let me flip that one. Just for fun, it's not my notes, but what's your biggest reason to be confident in leadership?

Biggest reason to be confident. Maybe the fact that I can't answer that very quickly is part of the problem.

Yeah, I would say to everyone listening that it's okay to have a insecurity. Because we all do, yeah. But you also want to have a reason to be confident. Because you're great what you do. So I'm gonna ask you again.


What's your reason for being confident. And if you don't have one, I'll give you five.

I have experienced a lot of tough things in life. I have learned a lot of great lessons and I have a lot of good information to share, to help people.

Excellent answer. You also have a lot of good leadership intuition. You pick people great. You see into the future, you're innovative. You're a risk taker and the list could go on and on.

Thank you.

Since you hesitated, I'd make sure you don't hesitate the next time. The number one quality you look for in people when you're adding staff.

You know, I don't know the right answer and being on a leadership podcast, I feel like I should have the right answer. The first thing I thought of was hungry.

That's great, that's gonna be initiative, someone who.

Yeah, obviously, depending on what it is, you gotta be good at what you're doing, but if you're hungry enough, you can probably learn to be good at what you're doing.

100%, rather have someone.

That's just the first word that pops.

Someone's hungry that's got a B level talent rather than someone who has A level talent is complacent. That's it take the hungry person all day long. What are you excited about in the next season of leadership? What's something you're looking forward to?

We are at a stage where we're wanting to take new ground, like never before and feeling a bit of that. Something I think that every organization deals with is like leadership development. So I've been getting really excited about trying to find the right people in the organization, trying to pour as much into them as I can and get them to start taking some risks and take our organization to new heights.

You've accomplished so much in life. You're one of the most broadly successful people that I interact with. What would you say the top of the list of things that you're proud of?

Right now it's that I didn't give up in the middle of what was the hardest season of my adult life, 'cause I wanted to.

So if there's someone out there thinking about giving up, that could be at the top of the list of things that,

Oh my gosh, here's what I'd say. I know how real the feelings are of, I want to throw in the towel on the dream, the organization, even at times on life. But I also know that if you decide not to, there will be a time when you will turn around and look back, you can't see it right now. There'll be a time when you're turnaround and you look back and you'll go, thank God I didn't give up because look what I got to experience.

Well, if you're driving down the road, if you're on a treadmill right now, or if you're working out somewhere or whatever, and you wanna just clap wherever you are and clap for Sean, because that was a fantastic interview and I'm grateful for your transparency.

Oh thank you. The book is called and "Attacking Anxiety, from panicked and depressed to alive and free". And you can find it at RedRockChurch/attackinganxiety or anywhere the books are sold. You also have a free discussion guide. Is that correct?


We'll link to it in, in our leader guide.


And hang on with me real quick before you turn this thing off, I wanna shout down a few people who are posting on social media. If you're new with our leadership podcast, we do drop a new teaching on the first Thursday of every month. And I wanna say a big thanks to Abby Chavez, to Samantha, I hope I said your name right? And to Layton, Layton. Thank you guys for posting on social media. What I wanna do is I wanna work really, really hard to bring you the gift of good content. And your gift back to me is to rate the content, write a review. post anywhere on social media, tag Sean, tag me, if you do, our team might repost you as well. Also wanna encourage you to get the leader guide at, click on the link and we're gonna send you additional information. We're gonna link to the Harvard Business Review article and put some tools into your hand to help you grow in your leadership. Also do wanna remind you that we do have a new book coming out, I told you some about it before. I'll tell you even more about as the time comes, the book is "Lead Like it Matters". We're talking directly to church leadership, but the good news is I learn from business books all the time. So whether you're in ministry or in your business, there will be leadership principles that will really help you in a significant way. So thank you for being a part of our leadership community, pastor Sean, well done with my friends.

Thank you.

We love to say this that keep investing in your leadership because everyone wins when the leader gets better.
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