is 2015 we published our first book, The Treasure Within and this is my most personal work!! As a teacher in leadership I am starting to see that most people do not bring their hearts to their leadership or their entrepreneurship and I hope that this reset that Covid has Brough us we build with the right intention!!! Our Hearts are imperative to our success!!
Your heart is the most important leadership tool you have. It is not your experience, knowledge, or skills. It is your heart that matters most of all.
When the realities of life knock , especially in failed entrepreneurial dreams its so easy to leave our hearts behind. From the many journal entries you can see how the heart has been betrayed, judged, disappointed and assaulted – it makes sense that the King – Solomon would advise in his book of wisdom Proverbs 4:23 – “That we GUARD our hearts Above all else!!! Because from it flows the Wellspring of Life”
This is necessary for at least three reasons:
- Because your heart is extremely valuable. We don’t guard worthless things. We take our garbage to the street every Wednesday morning. It is picked up sometime in the day. It sits on the sidewalk all day sometimes, loner depending on the strikes etc – completely unguarded. Why? Because it is worthless. Not so with your heart. It is the essence of who you are. It is your authentic self—the core of your being. It is where all your dreams, your desires, and your passions live. It is that part of you that connects with God and other people.
Just like your physical body, if your heart—your spiritual heart—dies, your leadership dies. This is why Solomon says, “Above all else.” He doesn’t say, “If you get around to it” or “It would be nice if.” No, he says, make it your top priority.
- Because your heart is the source of everything you do. King Solomon says it is the “wellspring of life.” In other words, it is the source of everything else in your life. Your heart overflows into thoughts, words, and actions.
I am reminded of actual wellsprings – wells, springs and how tiny their eye is and how easy it is to destroy !!! If you plug up the spring, you stop the flow of water. If you poison the water, the flow becomes toxic. In either situation, you threaten life downstream. Everything depends on the condition of the spring.
Likewise, if your heart is unhealthy, it has an impact on everything else. It threatens your family, your friends, your ministry, your career, and, indeed, your legacy. It is, therefore, imperative that you guard it.
- Because your heart is under constant attack. When Solomon says to guard your heart, he implies that you are living in a combat zone—one in which there are casualties.
Many of us are oblivious to the reality of this war. We have an enemy who is bent on our destruction. He not only opposes God, but he opposes everything that is aligned with Him—including us.
The Enemy uses all kinds of weapons to attack our heart. For me, these attacks often come in the form of some circumstance that leads to disappointment, discouragement, or even disillusionment. In these situations, I am tempted to quit—to walk off the field and surrender.
If your heart is unhealthy, it threatens everything else—family, friends, career—everything
The Four Disciplines of the Heart
How to Fight Back When You Feel Discouraged
How can leaders cultivate a healthy heart? I would suggest four disciplines:
1. The Discipline of Reflection
We live in a busy and noisy world that will suck the life out of us if we let it. This is why it is essential that we intentionally pull away to a quiet place, pause, and reflect. If Jesus did this (see, for example, Mark 1:35), how much more important is it for us?
For me this is best done with a regular quiet time, including reading the Bible and praying. I have also found it helpful to read other spiritual writings, especially those of the desert fathers. Anything outside of our own time gives us much-needed perspective, as C.S. Lewis notes in his introduction to On the Incarnation by St. Athanasius. Practicing stillness and journaling can also be a big help in maximizing this discipline.
2. The Discipline of Rest
Oftentimes what looks like discouragement is just weariness. God has built rest into our very physiology. We are made to shut down for a third of the daily cycle. One of the quickest ways to lose perspective is to cheat ourselves out of this God-given off switch.
But practicing the discipline of rest requires more than a biologically-induced pause. It requires deliberate choices, such as:
- determining to get enough sleep each night and possibly napping during the day;
- deciding to rest at least one day in seven; and
- scheduling vacations and possibly even a sabbatical.
I believe it even involves fasting—giving our bodies a break from the tyranny of our appetites.
3. The Discipline of Recreation
There is a difference between amusement and recreation. The former leaves us more tired than we started. (Ever taken a holiday and come back more exhausted than you left?) Yet the latter refreshes us and grounds us. Recreation involves any activity that gives us the opportunity to express our creativity. For some, it might involve painting, writing, or playing a musical instrument. For me, the ocean in my happy place. It lets me totally detach from work, shift my focus to the present, and reconnect with my heart.
4. The Discipline of Relationships
Arguably, this is the most important. You and I were made to live in relationship to others. In fact, the very foundation of reality is relational. Before the world was created, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, lived together in perfect love and unity.
But in a world of social media and faux connections, we must be intentional about building authentic relationships and real community. This means making time—quality time—for our family members and friends. It means taking the initiative to invest in those we love.
The personal payoff is huge. The right relationships open up a world of learning, encouragement, and accountability to us. And it’s a two-way street. When we’re in meaningful relationship with others, we can provide those as well.
We must be intentional about building authentic relationships and real community.