Where Leaders Come to Think

The Problem Was My Heart


Finishing the uphill climb and rounding the corner was the first sense of relief found on this run. It was hot and humid – I kept grumbling to myself that I was an idiot to  over sleep. I knew better and now was paying a price. I had at least two miles ahead and already every breath I took felt as if it were being delivered through a straw. I needed oxygen and shade.

As I rounded the turn, the hill ahead sloped gently down, and the path was shaded by large oak trees. I slowed my pace and began letting mother nature cool me. Breathing large, deep gulps of breath, I realized that my biggest problem was not my lungs or the heat or even my pace.

The problem was my heart.

Writing the other morning my sense of frustration was clear. The words were dripping from my brain like sweat does my body during a good run. The problem is sweat doesn’t read well. Everything I wrote seemed like a cliché. I was internally drowsy and frustrated with my efforts. I wanted to quit.

Yet, I know that writers can’t quit. It doesn’t matter if I call myself a writer or not the words will keep dripping. For a moment, I started to blame – then I realized something important. It is not my writing that is the problem.

The problem was my heart.

In a desperate act, during a hopeless situation I was forced to lead. Internally, I sat amazed, confused and disheartened. Why does leading others have to be this way? In the moment, I understood that no decision was the true killer of progress – I had to act. The struggle was that I didn’t love my only options. Choosing the best option in the worst case scenario is a leader’s nightmare.

The minutes seemed like hours as my chest tightened and I made the call. Looking back, I realize something. The problem wasn’t in my options.

The problem was my heart.

Let me clarify what I am talking about. I am not talking about the heart that pumps my blood, rather I am talking about the spiritual heart. The one I often call the “epicenter of the human condition” the place in me where God has chosen to dwell. The sacred place that holds the power to drive me forward or shut me down.

I spend a lot of time exercising my ability to perform in certain areas of life. I am training physically, practicing the art of writing and studying leadership. However, as important as each task is to my success I can see now that my strength lies in my ability to nurture my spiritual heart. It’s this heart that is critical to my success in all of life.

I’m slowly learning how to tend my spiritual heart.  How do you tend yours? 

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  1. Eddy

    This encourages me to try and tend to my heart intentionally this week. I will slow down and ‘take some deep breaths in the shade,” rather than continue to run in the stress of life.

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