When things go wrong, attend to your impact, not your intention.

The key is managing yourself. In my work coaching pastors we refer to this as “self leadership”. 60 MikulakIt’s among the most important disciplines for any leader to master.

Paul said: “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I … make [my body] my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified…” [I Cor 9:25-27]

‘Mastering your own self’ is, I think, Paul meaning. And, while it certainly includes the mastery of your physical being, 61 disciplinethe “self leadership” most necessary has to do with mastering your thinking and emotions.

The failure of Christian leaders to govern their emotions and thoughts has led to the greatest Kingdom-undermining catastrophes in Church history.

When you intended something good to come from a decision that, instead, caused injury or hurt, your impulse will be to defend yourself based on your good intentions.

That, my friend, is all about you. 

Defending your intentions always fails to produce reconciliation because it leaves the injury—and the injured person—unaddressed.

To interrupt the self-serving autopilot that runs in every human, capture your thoughts in real time. I’ll often say to myself: “OK, Kirk. We’re not having that conversation. We’re having this one.” Then I re-frame the scenario to address my impact without reference to the supposed nobility of my intentions. It’s amazing how rapidly you can move toward reconciliation when you’re not at all interested in defending yourself. 

I get to choose what I think about and what I think about it.

So do you.

You have your thoughts.

If not you, then who?

Also, to attend to your impact, you’ll choose to take captive your emotions. A mentor told me: “Kirk, you can have your emotions, or your emotions will have you.” 60 gethsemane

He then pointed to Jesus’ example in Gethsemane. Wresting with his impending crucifixion, he was in intense emotional agony. Yet, he subordinated his feelings to his commitment to put his Father’s will first.

Jesus had his feelings—all of them.

They didn’t have him.





Coaching distinctions #61.doc