Love, Labor and Little Ones

It's the pattern for greatness.

Do you know how true, sustainable excellence is achieved? 


I believe bringing a child into the world—its purpose, process, and product—is a great example.

Its purpose: to lovingly procreate and usher in a new generation; to faithfully perpetuate the human race with hopes for a greater future.

The process: 2 people fall in love, developing an intimate, trustful relationship; they intimately, passionately, ecstatically become one; 9 months of discomfort, sickness, and anticipation. And it culminates with increasing pain that can last for hours, lots of hours.

The product: 5 to 9 pounds (on average) of cuteness and joy; totally dependent, vulnerable person with lots of needs.

With the birth of a child, we can get an idea of what is involved in creating something uniquely amazing—patience, courage, perseverance, compassion, humility, gratitude, joy, faith, and of course love. To be successful in this complex endeavor, we need to grow how we see ourselves, others, and what life is about. We must foster the things that help us thrive and protect against those that threaten, to overcome the hidden things that get in the way of true, long-term fulfillment and satisfaction. Things that are precious and new are usually weak and needy and they need to be loved, protected, cherished, and developed. 

But if we haven't been liberated from fearful, anxious, and worrisome ways, if we haven't healed deep emotional wounds from the past, we will most likely be operating with an organizing principle of superficial securities and affinities that tend to focus on productivity, efficiency and short-term fixes.

What's wrong with this? 

It's a beast. And it will eat little babies of inspiration, originality, non-status-quo aspirations, and seeds of innovation. Our ideology will be impotent against the invisible forces that steal our joy, erode our hope, and oppress our love. We would do well to wisely steer away from beast-run organizing.

Here's God's template for divine success: 

Inspiration and passion of love
>>> growing deep trust
>>> decisions and actions to effectively create and collaborate
>>> birth of something new that is vulnerable and needy
>>> intentional, dynamic protection of the new
>>> authentic learning through trial and error
>>> ongoing development and revolution towards maturity.

Needed ingredients: love, humility, wisdom, joy, courage, perseverance, patience, forgiveness, faith, hope—to effectively deal with anything that causes fear to find the best possible solutions to the myriad of problems encountered at home and work.

This is the what and how of God's work. Too often, divine activity has been relegated to conventional ministry, evangelism, etc. But when anyone does things that incorporate healthy culture building principles, they are partnering with supernatural benevolence. Ed Catmull is doing it at Pixar and we too can do it in our pursuit of sustainable excellence.

I also see this with the Golden State Warriors, 2017 NBA champs! What a great example of what can happen when leadership prioritizes, embraces, collaborates, exemplifies and develops attitudes and culture that value every person on the team and the organization. The depth of their bench is a strong indicator; seeing how unselfish the top players are, even in tight situations is another. It's quite evident that the things needed to thrive as a team are core, and not simply given lip service. It's the very thing that drew Kevin Durant to sign on:

"...I am also at a point in my life where it is of equal importance to find an opportunity that encourages my evolution as a man: moving out of my comfort zone to a new city and community which offers the greatest potential for my contribution and personal growth. With this in mind, I have decided that I am going to join the Golden State Warriors."
~ K.Durant, July 2016   

Achieving true, sustainable excellence is what a growth-centered family is all about. Healthy parenting is what healthy leaders do in healthy organizations (whether a family, corporation, or nonprofit). When we engage it, surrender to it, we experience its power. But without faithful commitment to embrace and overcome all that is involved, we will miss out on the greatest blessings and outcomes of genuine love and inspiration.

When we are in this spiritual, relational, transformative process, we can move beyond a life controlled by insecurities, freed from unhealthy ties to culture and family of origin. Our heads become more and more one with our hearts. We find deeper and more meaningful collaboration with others at home and work. We're on our way to fulfill our highest purpose in the world. 

Cost-saving, efficiency, productivity all have their place. But they must never be allowed to trump the baby; the tangible, easily observable never make anything truly great. It's only what comes through inspiration and lovingly dealing with the uncomfortable, messy part of the creative process. This means not always trying to eliminate errors but rather willingness to embrace failure, making space and time to effectively learn and change from it.

Take, for example, Pixar's attempt to streamline the production of "Finding Nemo". They had taken 5 years to make "Monsters Inc." Wanting to save on costs and time, they attempted to finalize the script before production. Didn't happen. They ran into all kinds of unforeseen problems and ended up making just as many adjustments as any other film. But the end result was a film they were entirely proud of that was 2nd highest grossing 2003 movie and the highest grossing animated film ever at that time. That's what can happen when the baby is protected from the beast.

Are you living, leading and working with a mindset aligned with the divine template? Yes, no or somewhere in between let's chat to explore what a greater culture of growth and development could do for your family and work.