The Blog

Posts By: Todd G. Gongwer

Pray for Newtown


We, the people, watch in disbelief. With tear-filled eyes and heavy hearts filled with empathy, despair and anger, we wonder. We question. We cry. In our churches, in our businesses, at sporting events, in government buildings, on college campuses, and in our schools...we wonder. We question. We cry. Sadly, as we search for answers, our society has conditioned us to look outward more than inward. More often than not, this approach takes us to one of the most polarizing subjects in America today: legislation. From issues of gun control, to violence in mainstream media, to pulling God out of schools and government buildings, you name it – when it comes to these issues, we are a deeply divided nation. And yet – this still seems to be the first place we look to solve our society’s problems. Please don’t misunderstand me, I do agree that laws have their place, and serve a purpose in our country. However, legislation has never, and will never solve the deepest issues we face as a society. Why? Because these issues are issues of the heart – and they start in the home!

The issues of the heart start with each and every one of us as individuals.

Walking in the Shadow


I recently had a conversation with a talented young leader considering a career change. As he shared nuggets of advice he’d received from his mentors, I listened intently, affirming most of what he’d been told. But then, he shared one particular piece of advice that really struck me. It came in the form of a precautionary question, and went something like; “…are you sure you’ll be okay walking in the shadow of your new boss?” At first, I thought this was a good question for him to consider. After all, this young leader was a shooting star destined to make a huge mark in society. With his talent, the last thing he needed was to be overshadowed or trapped serving some other leader’s needs. It was obvious, he was born to lead, not follow…right?

The truth is, the more I thought about this question the more it bothered me. Not because it was a bad question, but because the way this question was asked points to a dangerous trend in how our culture is conditioning our young leaders to think about the concept of walking in the shadow of another. It seems we’ve led them to believe that the more talent they have, the faster they should be at the top telling others what to do.

A Champion’s Choice


As the name on the email alert faded in and out of the corner of my laptop screen I did a double take in disbelief. This has to be one of my buddies messing with me. There’s no way he’d be sending me an email, I thought to myself as I clicked on the name to open it. But as I began to read the heart-felt words that described the emotions LEAD…for God’s Sake was bringing into the light, I knew it was real. One of the most successful coaches in the country, a guy I had prayed would find this book some day, Urban Meyer, had not only found it, but had been deeply moved by its message.

Minutes after I replied to his email, Coach Meyer called me. Determined to go deeper into the heart of the parable, he bombarded me with questions. Eventually, our discussion shifted to the personal trials and triumphs of his past, and how his drive to stay on top in college football had almost destroyed everything that really mattered to him. Physically and emotionally spent, he’d ripped his hands from the steering wheel — for a second time — and walked away. That was last summer.

Are You Flying Blind?


At first it startled me. Then, after figuring out what it was, I found it a bit amusing. But as time passed, and my feathered friend continued to fly face first – or should I say beak first -- into our picture window, I actually began to feel sorry for the little fella. Blinded to the reality of his own plight, he persisted in this self-destructive behavior for some time. Finally, after spotting my waving arms just beyond the illusion that had originally lured him in, the battered little bird flew off to better things.

As I thought about this bird’s foolish actions I was reminded of times in my own life where I’d mirrored his behavior. Times where I had been drawn into the pursuit of something that really wasn’t what I thought it was. Blinded to the realities of my own situation, I too had haphazardly flown into some windows in life. What’s worse, as a leader I had led others down this same path. Epitomizing the blind leading the blind, I struggled with what I believe to be one of the most critical elements of leadership: self-awareness.

Simply put, self-awareness is an ability to see oneself accurately in relation to both internal and external forces in life.

Patience vs. Persistence


I was asked to share my thoughts by Todd Rhoade on the topic of Patience vs. Persistence. I truly believe this is one of the greatest challenges we face in our pursuit of purpose.

Here is a snippet of the blog entry posted over on Todd Rhoade's Blog. To continue reading please click here or the link under the excerpt.

Last year, I had lunch with a very successful marketing professional. He had been impacted by the message in the book I’d recently written, and asked if we could get together to chat about the principles within. After about an hour of meaningful dialogue, our conversation shifted. “Todd, you’ve got to get this book out to the masses. Everyone needs to read it,” he exclaimed with urgency in his voice. “There’s so much you could be doing to get it on the fast track.” As he continued, I listened quietly, nodding occasionally to affirm his ideas. Finally, in response to my nonchalant attitude, he sighed, and with frustration in his voice, asked me point blank; “What’s your goal for this thing, Todd?” After a short pause I answered, “obedience.“ Needless to say, this was not the answer he was expecting.