Combating Those Pesky Thoughts of Failure

Today’s blog post is a guest post from Tom Harper. Tom is president of Networld Media Group, a…

Tom-portrait-150x150Today’s blog post is a guest post from Tom Harper. Tom is president of Networld Media Group, a publisher of online trade journals and events for the banking, retail, restaurant and church leadership markets (including the mega-blog He is the author of Leading from the Lions’ Den: Leadership Principles from Every Book of the Bible (B&H). Here’s his post:

‘Let your hands be strong, you who now hear these words that the prophets spoke when the foundations were laid for the rebuilding of the temple, the house of the LORD of Hosts.’, Zec 8:8

In the movie Facing the Giants, high school football coach Grant Taylor fell into depression. After six years, he didn’t post a single winning season. One night, Taylor sat on his living room floor. He wrote a single question at the top of a notepad: What is the purpose of our team?

The purpose, he discovered, was not to win. After all, his players couldn’t even remember who had won the state championship three years ago. Life was a much more important game. The duty of the team, Taylor concluded, was to honor God and train his players to become men of strength, character and valor.

Inspired by this renewed focus, Taylor decided that win or lose, his team would honor God and trust him with the results. The team started winning. The players rallied behind their coach’s new vision and noticed changes in him that led to positive changes in themselves.

The prophet Zechariah refocused his Jewish compatriots, too. While they had obeyed Haggai’s earlier exhortation to start rebuilding the temple, procrastination and defeatism again threatened to return as new opposition heated up.

Zechariah didn’t allow his people’s fear to control them. Though enemies threatened, Zechariah redirected his people’s attention to the long-term promises of God. But before their victory could come to pass, they had to get to work.

I recently met with a colleague in a coffee shop. Relaxing music emanated from the high ceiling. Only a few other people sat around us. We spread out over a double-wide table and got some smooth java. Life suddenly slowed down for both of us.

I realized that I hadn’t really talked to him in months. Of course, we discuss stuff every day, but I couldn’t remember the last time we had connected like this. As we sipped, I resisted jumping into the agenda. I asked how he was doing in life and how the job was going. I was amazed how the intimate conversation naturally transitioned into the issues at hand. We came up with succinct, creative ideas that seemed free of the usual clutter. We even talked about our long-term personal dreams.

As we focused on the bigger vision of our business, I felt a new energy. I thought of Coach Taylor and Zechariah. The distant horizon came into view. We still have our current challenges, but they’re in perspective. I feel more confident about where we’re going, which motivates me to start laying stones right now.