Josh Clark
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Category Archives for Leadership

Mom Fail – 3 Truths every Smart Mom Knows (but can sometimes forget.)

This video appeared in my memory feed yesterday. It’s several years old, but it's one of my favorites. Watch it to the end to see a funny mom fail.

I’ve watched it hundreds of times and it still makes me laugh.

I don’t just chuckle because I find it funny. I laugh because it fills my heart with joy!

I love it because it accurately reflects the values my wife seeks to live out with our family. She doesn't always achieve them. But when she does, it’s a thing of beauty.

Heidi's a smart mom. And if you're reading this, then you are too. Her little mom fail reminds me of three truths every smart mom knows but can sometimes forget. (They apply to dad’s as well.) 

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Know Your Why

When you know your WHY, you can find your WAY.

Do you know your WHY? I hope you do. Because if you don't, it will be difficult to find your way. 

And I know what it is to feel like you've lost your way.

It was a sunny winter morning in Southern California, and I was packing up my office after a whirlwind 120 days had left me unemployed and uncertain of my future. 

Just three years earlier, my family and I had packed up our lives and moved some 2,100 miles from ATL to SoCal to lead a church. We knew it would be an adventure. But we had no idea how much this three-year leg of our journey would shape our lives and our future.

Just five months before that winter morning, I had publicly celebrated the fact that our pace of growth qualified us as one of the 100 fastest growing churches in America (with over 1,000 in attendance). We were excited that our church was growing and affecting positive change in individuals and our community. Now, shorter than you can say the words "church politics," I was out as the lead pastor of the church. 

Many of the leadership lessons I share today crystallized in that season. Unfortunately, those lessons were pretty costly to my family, some outstanding people, and the momentum of a pretty good church. 

Someday soon, I'll write more about my failures in that season. They weren't moral or financial failures. They were leadership failures. Failures that have led me to where I am today. Failures for which I am grateful and willing to share. But that's another post.

The purpose of today's post is to help you discover your WHY. You see, almost five years ago, on that sunny, winter morning, I didn't know what I would do next or how I would do it. You could say I had lost my way.

But there was one thing I did know. I knew WHY I would do it.

I knew that whatever I did, it would be something that Inspired Leaders to Pursue their Personal Highest and Best. Now I didn't say it this way back then. I used to verbalize my why like this, "Empowering others to live authentic lives of deep impact."

I expressed it differently back then, but it was essentially the same WHY. Knowing my WHY is what allowed me to find my way.

If you know your WHY, you'll find your WAY.

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Since that day five years ago, my WHY has inspired me to challenge thousands with my speaking. It has allowed me to help other leaders in their journey. And most recently, to lead an Inc. 5,000 tech company to and through a strategic exit. Today, my WHY causes me to encourage you in yours. 

I want you to be as excited about your future as I am about mine. For that to be true, you need to be confident of your WHY.

If you are unsure of your WHY or are in a season where you want to refine it, here are two questions that have helped me with my WHY.

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How to Successfully Build Leaders without Destroying your Lawn, Family, or Business.

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I recently fired my lawn guy. Firing him had nothing to do with the quality of the work he was doing. His termination was unrelated to the price he charged or the value I received. Truth be told, severing my four-year relationship with my lawn maintenance engineer had nothing to do with him.

I fired my lawn guy because my boy turned ten. I fired my lawn guy because mowing the lawn is a great leadership development tool. I fired my lawn guy because,

A boy becomes a man when a man is needed. John Steinbeck

Now understand, I don’t think for a minute that my ten-year-old son can do a better job than the professional who has been trimming my turf for the last four years. Nor do I think I’ll be saving any money in this transition. (I did the math, and this change is costing me over twenty times what it cost to outsource.) But I’m happy I made the change and will continue to make changes like this one in both my home and work life. Why? It’s quite simple. I’ve learned that great leaders develop other leaders by giving responsibility away just a little too soon. I want my son to grow up to be a leader. So I’m giving him big responsibility just a little before he’s ready.Continue reading

Is your heart helping or hurting you?

Leaders influence – nothing more, nothing less. If you have influence, you are a leader. Whether you are a CEO, a pastor or a parent, you have the opportunity to change the world around you. Sociologists estimate that even the most introverted people will influence an average of 10,000 people in their lifetime. Think about that. An introvert, who’s personality causes them to minimize their contact with others, still influences thousands.

You can’t separate yourself from your influence. Like it or not, you are a leader. 

As a leader, you have influence over individuals and organizations. But the actual impact of your leadership is determined by how you lead yourself. Great leaders first lead themselves. Then, they move on to lead others, to lead leaders, and eventually to lead organizations and movements. Maximizing your influence means leading yourself. Great leaders know this and monitor the condition of their heart. So let me ask you, as a leader, is your heart helping or hurting you.Continue reading

3 Reasons Great Leaders Practice Abandonment

As a leader, practicing abandonment is difficult. We grow attached to things that have worked in the past; remembering the value they brought to our lives and organizations. We remain dependent on things that are decelerating in their effectiveness; wrenching every last ounce of comfort from their diminishing returns. Endings are difficult, especially when they include products, services, people, or organizations that have added value to our lives. But just like every toddler eventually learns to leave their blanket behind. Great leaders know abandonment is necessary to pursue new growth.Continue reading

Murrieta’s 40 Under Forty Announced. Guess Who Made the List?

 

I was recently honored as one of the recipients of the Murrieta Chamber of Commerce’s “40 Under Forty” award, given out to the Valley’s young “Movers & Shakers”. (Read the official press release here). With so many great young professionals and community servants in the Valley, it’s certainly an honor to receive this award, and since I won’t be “under 40” for much longer, I’m extra thrilled to be receiving it this year.

As someone who offers life planning, business consulting, and leadership coaching as a profession, I’m always looking at how I can help others be “movers and shakers” in their personal and professional lives. I measure my success by how I’m able to help others succeed. So being recognized by my community as one who is having a positive impact is certainly validating.Continue reading

The 3 Most Important Questions when Prioritizing Your Day.

For most of my life, I wore my busyness with pride. Believing that “out of this world” results would justify an “out of control” pace. In my early twenties, I juggled a start-up business, my education, and a thriving ministry.

Throughout that decade, my work hard – play hard lifestyle produced some great results. But it came at great expense. Before my thirtieth birthday, stress at work and home landed me in the ER with chest pains. It was a wake-up call I’ll never forget. A lesson I don’t want to repeat. 

My pursuit of everything almost left me with nothing.

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Making masks a thing of the past.

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We all wear masks. We take what’s on the inside, put a mask on it, and pretend it’s something else altogether.

I’m great at this, even though I don’t want to be.

Sometimes I wear masks at home, with my kids. Last week was busy and by the weekend I was feeling guilty for the limited time I’d spent with my boys. As I left the house for yet another evening away, I told the kids they would wake up the next morning to a wonderful surprise from their daddy. Because, as you know, cheap toys from the Target $1 bin can totally fill the void left by an absentee father.Continue reading

Want to change your perspective? Say thanks.

Anytime you’re out front, you’re gonna get stabbed in the back.

Every leader understands this truth. It comes with the territory. People who can’t handle criticism or rejection don’t make it long-term as leaders. But just because you grow to accept the negative aspects of leadership doesn’t mean you have to enjoy them.

Leadership is tough. Visionary leaders have the ability to create and articulate a credible and attractive vision of the future that improves on the present situation. The problem is that no single vision can improve everyone’s situation. Visionary change simultaneously produces excitement and disappointment. So whether you’re leading at church, the marketplace or at home, being a leader requires a tireless commitment to your vision. It also requires you to implement your vision in a way that energizes others, so that you can in effect jump-start the future by calling forth the skills and resources required to make your vision happen.

Sound difficult? It is, and if you’ve ever tried to lead the change you know that it can be exhausting. So what does all of this have to do with saying thanks? The answer is simple: everything.Continue reading