The Best Thing I Heard Today – January 22nd 2020

“Sometimes the juice just isn’t worth the squeeze.”

This was spoken to me today by a friend who is considering a career change after more than thirteen years at the same place.

How do you know when you should hold on tighter and when you should let go?

I have had this conversation with at least ten leaders already in 2020. I personally believe and counsel most leaders to hang on, whenever they can! I believe hanging on and choosing longevity is to be prized.

But there are times in your career where you certainly feel like the juice just isn’t worth the squeeze! (Whata line!)

If this is you … I will be posting an article in a few hours with several things to consider when considering leaving people and places. 

Does your 2020 already have “should” all over it?

As we enter this New Year and decade I am overwhelmed by Gods goodness, favor and grace.




I look at me in 2010 and today.


And I consider all the good things I have been able to experience. 


All of the places God has allowed me and my family to love and lead.


I am humbled and grateful.


The truth is as I sit around this December 31st NYE afternoon at 3:51pm Pacific washing Jetty …


Jetty / 1961 VW Camper Bus

All I want to do is write an inspiring article like my friend Will Mancini! (You should really read his article today – The 2020 Pastor)


But the truth is … I feel like my 2020 already has “should” all over it.


I mean there are so many shoulds sitting on my shoulder and whispering into my ear today. And there are many people who believe they know exactly what I should do in 2020 and beyond.


Maybe you feel like that too.


You wish you had 2020 vision for 2020!


But the truth is … you don’t.


So, what do you do when you can’t perfectly post all your 2020 plans and ambitions by the time the ball drops in New York?


Here’s what I am going to do.


I am going to give myself
some grace.


I am going to spend a little more time this week praying,  celebrating and in some cases grieving things from the past decade. And when I have fully looked back, I will dream and plan forward.


I am anticipating and dreaming of big things in 2020 and I know there are going to be some major fireworks this New Year …

I just have to be sure I am lighting the right fuse!


Here is all I really want to say …


It’s OK if your New Year and decade plans are not yet ready to launch. 


Give yourself some grace. 








And then light the right fuse!



Jetty 1961 VW Camper Bus

Have you ever run out of gas in your car? You’re driving along – no problem and suddenly you’re about to be out of gas, or you are out of gas. Several years ago, I was driving my mobile office around Phoenix and I am not sure how it happened but at one moment the gas gauge read half full and just a minute later it was sitting on E.

My first tendency was to question the reading. This can’t be right, I was just half full a few minutes ago. How can I be on “E?” So, I ignored the reading for about 10 miles and the needle started to move below E! How can something be below E? Isn’t empty, empty? Well, to make a long story medium length … you can’t drive on “E” for long. 

Here is my question for you … have you ever run out of gas? Not in your car … but in life? Have you ever been at the place in your life where you have been going so hard for so long and doing so many things. You are caring for so many people and carrying so many other peoples burdens … that you are just running on empty? What about right now? 

Let’s say this gas gauge could register what’s in your heart, what’s it reading right now?  

Is it on “F” for full?  Or on “E” for empty? Or somewhere in-between?

If you are you less than half full and headed towards empty … what caused you to feel empty and out of gas? Maybe it was the unrealistic expectations put on you by others? 

The shoulds of others.

In this message we talk about how to kindly but confidently say “not now” to the shoulds of others. And begin to move from a should life to a good life.


“I Should On Others” – SHOULD HAPPENS – WEEK 2

We know it’s normal and perfectly acceptable to have a job description at work? But have you ever thought about how you have secret job descriptions for pretty much everyone you meet? We have things that we expect “others” to do for us. And they are usually completely unaware of these expectations!

Here is the simple succession of how we should on others.

  1. We have secret job descriptions and expectations of other people.

2.    These people are completely unaware of our expectations of them.

3.    They quickly fail to meet our secret expectations.

4.    We get angry with them and should all over them.

In this message we dive into how We Should On Others. And we learn how we can should on others less and begin to move from a should life to a good life!

When we value people,

the way God values people, 

we should on people, less.

“I Should On Myself” – SHOULD HAPPENS – WEEK 1

Do you ever should on yourself?

I do.

I have shoulds that sit on my shoulder and constantly convene courtrooms in my mind. If I even think about saying “no” to someone who asks me to do something. I immediately put myself on trial and begin to present to myself evidence for all the reasons I should do what the person is asking me to do!

This message considers how we all live in the shoulds. And it gives us perspective on how to move from a should life to a good life!

The SHOULD HAPPENS book is available at all Parkview Christian Church campuses in Chicagoland this weekend.

And nationwide on Friday, September 27th!

THE SHOULDS ARE COMING – September 7th!!!

After nearly a decade of wrestling with the shoulds, I have spent the last 6 months writing SHOULD HAPPENS.

This is a human parable.

If you’re like most people, you live in the ‘should’s. You are constantly chained by ideas of how your life should be, of what you should accomplish, of what you should be better at. You may feel anxiety about not meeting your shoulds each and every day.

What if you could escape that anxiety.

In this book, we’ll follow Tom Should – a person very much like me, and perhaps you.

He’s paralyzed on a daily basis by his shoulds – the larger-than-life ideals imposed upon him. They make it impossible for him to relax and enjoy the life he has, because he’s constantly comparing himself to others, and imagining the life he thinks he should have.

We’ll follow Tom on his journey from a should life to a good life from resenting his life for all the ways it doesn’t meet his expectations, to embracing, enjoying, and treasuring the life he does have each and every day.

Letting loose of our shoulds is not easy. To many of us, it might feel like accepting the unacceptable, becoming less, giving up on our ideals, or thwarting our ambition. For that reason, we might never surrender our shoulds – until we see the power of doing so in action, through stories like Tom’s.

In this leadership parable, we’ll see how it’s possible to live our best lives in ways we never dreamed of. We just have to let go of many of our ‘shoulds.

Tom’s story appears religious at first. And in a way, it is. He suffers from the shoulds that many religious people experience – the shoulds of trying to live a perfect life.

But the process Tom goes through as he learns to love himself and his life is a process all of us go through, religious or not. This is a human parable. The shoulds are blind to age, ethnicity, income and gender and they represent a pressure that all people face. It’s a process of learning firsthand what is truly important – and seeing what you miss when you live in the shoulds.

I hope that this book will help everyone who reads it. I know writing it helped me.

SHOULD HAPPENS will be available on the weekend of September 7th / 8th. I will be at Parkview Christian Church in Chicagoland launching this SHOULD HAPPENS book and teaching series.

WorkJoy & Pancakes – The Organizational Side

What is your favorite breakfast food?
Mine is pancakes.

The reason is there’s really no right or wrong way to eat a pancake.
There is not one side that tastes better.

Neither side of a pancake is more important.
Both sides matter.

Likewise, if one side gets burned it effects the taste of the other side.
Again, both sides matter.

It’s the same way when it comes to our work.

To experience joy at work there are two equally important sides.

1. You should make your work a better place.
2. The work place should make you a better person.

You should add value to the business, non-profit endeavor or church.
And the business, non-profit endeavor or church should add value to you.

Often, we think about a single side of workjoy.

How does the employee add value to the organization?

This is obviously a critical component to staying employed and finding joy at work.

You have to work at work for things to work!

I work for a staffing firm called Slingshot Group. We help people build remarkable teams and here is a behind the scenes look at some of the criteria we use as we evaluate the value a person is adding to their organization.

  • Immediate chemistry

Would you rehire the same person today?

  • Team health

Does the candidate improve team dynamics?

Has the entire staff been positively affected by the candidate?

  • Individual contribution

Has the team member brought visible value beyond their role requirements?

  • Ministry momentum

Are there improved ministry area results under the candidates leadership?

Are new leaders being added to the candidates ministry area?

  • Organizational capacity

Does the candidate increase the energy level of the leadership team?

Does the candidate increase the influence of your church in general?

Has the candidate helped you gain new ground as an organization?

These are great questions you can ask when it comes to discerning value from the employer side of the relationship. However, the side of workjoy that often gets undervalued or burned. Is the personal, me side. In order to truly experience workjoy, it must be two sided.

You should make your work a better place
and your work place should make you a better person.

Here are several ways you can find value from an employee side of the relationship and experience and become a better person as you also create a better place.

  • Work in teams. This will make your product better. It doesn’t matter what you are creating a team will enable you and other to accomplish more, with less stress (eventually) and in less time.
  • Work in strengths. This will make your potential better. It doesn’t matter what your creating or leading if you create and lead from your strengths (delegating your weaknesses) you will produce better things, in less time and with less stress.
  • Work ahead. This will make your process better. Good things happen in the margin. When we “work ahead” we make our careers, calling, family, friendships and personal life taste better.

Workjoy occurs when we add value to a place and that place adds value to you as a person.

Who you become is more important than what you do.

Decide today to strive for double-sided workjoy!

Are you more eggshell or semi-gloss?

We just had the Clark Cottage painted recently and I learned a lot over the five day period from the painters.

Did you know there are 5 levels of sheen in the world of paint?

– High gloss
– Semi-gloss
– Satin
– Eggshell
– Matte

When it comes to understanding your life …

Do you know your sheen?

Did you know that you are the most important person you will lead this week?
And you are the most difficult person you will lead this week.

Most leaders who are no longer leading others have found themselves in that spot because they quit leading or couldn’t lead themselves.

Over the years, understanding who I am has been critical to understanding who God is calling me to be and where He is calling me to invest my one and only life.

It has given the the ability to say yes.

And it has given me the ability to say no, with confidence, to great opportunities.

Here are my top four ways to gain insight into your unique sheen.

1. Get a LifePlan. In January of 2017 Rene and I spent four days in the Patterson LifePlan process and it revolutionized our lives. You can find more information here – Paterson Center.   And my wife Rene also leads people through 2-day personal and private LifePlan retreats at our cottage in Huntington Beach, CA. More information here – ReneClark.Com

NOTE: A LifePlan is not about you crafting your dream for your life, but unearthing Gods dream for your life.

2. Do the Enneagram. This diagnostic tool not only reveals your sheen that looks beautiful, engaging and everyone wants to see, but it also gives insight into the potential pitfalls and “dark side” of your sheen / personality. The side that often creeps up on you but you don’t know why. This tool, when facilitated by a pro, can help you see the other side of you.

3. Give trusted people permission. Allowing trusted friends and family members to speak openly into your life could surprise you. They stare at your exterior all day long. And though they might not know how you feel on the inside all the time … they will have a pretty accurate appraisal of how shiny or dull you are on the outside.

4. Get alone. Get away with only a blank notebook and ask God to speak to you. If you are feeling stuck and like God is quiet … then write everything you want to say to Him. Then just draw an empty box or circle on your paper … and wait for Him to speak words into your heart. Write down what your heart says. Then meditate on those things.