11: It takes Courage to Lead – Notes from the Willow Creek Leadership Summit

Every leader needs courage if you are moving outside of your comfort zone.? Which is what leadership is all about!


I am not sure what you need courage for today.? Or this week.? Or

this month. ? Are you struggling with ?..

  • Facing people who don’t believe in you.
  • Getting out of bed some mornings
  • Starting new things
  • Improving things that are broken
  • Trying new approaches in your leadership
  • Changing things
  • Confronting people
  • The bus – getting everyone on the right seat and the right people on the bus
  • Facing failure.
  • Dealing with disappointments – happen to all of us?

Unless you are asleep in your job, you need courage!

There are many things that want to take away my courage:

  • Betting on myself
  • Believing in myself every day
  • Bills
  • Obligations
  • Nay sayers
  • Failures in the past in leadership and work
  • Personal failures in my life
  • Personal short comings
  • Leadership failures

How would you add to that list?

How I heard about courage from five very different voices?.

Bill Hybels
Colin Powell
Mark Burnett
Brene Brown
Henry Cloud

1. Bill Hybels – 38 years pastor at Willow

Don’t let late night fear abort your God given vision.?? Be strong and courageous. ?I deal with that a lot.

Joshua 1:9Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.?

2. General Colin Powell – Served 4 Presidents

“It will look better in the morning” It is an attitude
“Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier”
Never get too down or too up

3. Mark Burnett – TV mogul

Can the creator of The Voice and Survivor teach me anything about my leadership?
A story of belief in yourself and your vision. ?Here is a guy who has had 4 TV shows in primetime at the top at one time. ?NEVER been done before.
Survivor, Apprentice, The Voice and Shark Tank.
Did the 10 hour “The Bible” and reached 100,000,000 viewers against all odds and with everyone in his industry telling him it would end his career! ?He is a committed believer. Now Hollywood is jumping on the Bible bandwagon!

4. Brene Brown – Researcher and story teller

Three things we all need:

  • Belonging
  • Being seen and loved
  • Bravery

I need to embrace failure. ?Venture capitalist say, “I never want to fund anyone that has a death fear of failure.” ?Failure is the key to all innovation. ?I only fund people who have had a lot of failure on their resume.
You have GOT TO listen to her YouTube Video – Power of Vulnerability

Get in the arena! ? Get in there and stay in there.
Be courageous each and every day.

Choose courage or comfort – you cannot have both!
You are signing up to get your butt kicked. ?Get courageous.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.? (US President Teddy Roosevelt)

5. Henry Cloud – Psychologist

Somewhere along the line we lose control of the circumstance around us.

A. We control – > B. Results happen

But then things happen. ?Things get out of control. This are not working like I want them to. ?I fail. ?I get turned down. ?I face disappointment.

What happens to the brain when this happen?
The Three P’s

We interpret it…

  • Personally ? “I am not good enough” ?I feel the problem is me.
  • Pervasive ? “Everyone feels that way about me.” ? ?My whole life sucks. ?Everything becomes bad.
  • Permanent ?”It will always be this way. Nothing will change.” ? ?I’m toast.

All this gets burned into the brain’s and heart’s software.
There is a way out of the downward spiral of a leader?. and it all has to do with courage.

We have to re-interpret what is going on.

  • Personally ? “I am good enough” ?The problem is NOT ME.
  • Pervasive ? “I have a lot of people that believe in me.”
  • Permanent ?”I will take courage and believe in my vision and who I am.”

Get his book: ??Boundaries for Leaders

Quote of the Show: ?Brene Brown: “Never are we more alive than when we are being brave.”

Books to recommend: Brene Brown: Daring Greatly
Henry Cloud: Boundaries for Leaders