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Episode 35: A Non-Anxious Presence in an Anxious World

Aug 23, 2022

"What advice would you give leaders – especially those entering leadership for the first time"

In this episode, we are joined by Jay Kim to answer our leadership question. Jay serves as lead pastor at WestGate, a multi-congregational church in the Silicon Valley of California. He's the author of several books. Jay is stretching our perspective as Christians on the human need for analog connection and our role as leaders in setting the stage for the human connection we need in a digital age.

Lessons From A Leadership Journey

What I have learned is that if there is a tension between going too slow or going too fast, my suggestion would be to err on the side of going too slow. I have discovered that in the moments when we chose to go slow, if we realized that we had maybe gone slower than we should have, there were creative ways that we could do the work to catch up. But in those experiences when I went too fast, the damage done is pretty difficult to undo.” (3:10)

Almost always my instinctive reaction or response to a particular situation or circumstance, or challenge or obstacle is always immediately sort of the jumbled mess of my insecurity mixed with wisdom. Lack of experience mixed with my drive. I have found it’s worth taking the time to take a deep breath, to walk away, to ask for time when necessary, to not respond right away, to not allow external forces to impose an immediate response or reaction. What I’m trying to achieve is clarity. I just don’t want to make a decision until I have some semblance of clarity. (6:35)

Addressing the Frenzy of Leadership

Frenetic shallowness is essentially the state in which most of us live most of the time, specifically in the digital age. It’s frenetic not only because of our digital devices, it’s frenetic because we are constantly moving from one thing to the next. (11:16)

It’s called frenetic shallowness, because that’s what our frenzy does to us. It makes us really shallow. It actually just whittles us down to our most animalistic bare bones instincts. (12:46)

Becoming the Non-Anxious Leader

One of the primary responsibilities of a leader is to be a non anxious presence. If we live in a constant state of frenetic shallowness, we will be nothing but anxious. (15:10)

What this demands is that we detach and untether ourselves from the frenzy and the frenetic shallowness that surrounds us. (16:26)

  • Leaders need to have some sort of robust interest that is outside of their leadership context. (17:22)
  • Hobbies give us perspective that this job, my performance, the success or failure of this church or this organization … this is not the end of the world. Life is bigger than me. (18:53)
  • Leadership is not a golden ticket. It's a burden. You have a particular weight you carry on your shoulders. (23:53)
  • Leadership is an unquantifiable buzzing, nonstop incessant, consistent weight you feel on your shoulders. A responsibility that’s hard to quantify. (24:27)
  • Leading in the context of community can help pave a path forward toward health and wholeness. (25:15)
  • To experience transformative relationships, meaningful, deep connections with one another we need embodied analog connection with each other. (27:21)
  • It’s about being a whole, healthy, integrated human being. When we compartmentalize to be great as a leader and then go to other compartments of life that are an absolute mess, it’s going to eventually show up in your leadership. (29:44)

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