You Can’t Grow if You Don’t Have This

Have you ever been amazed by the lack of wisdom and immaturity that exists amongst the most educated and experienced people of the world?  We all have stories about people that seem clueless.  It seems like everyone else in the room is aware of what is going on, except the person who is acting poorly.

I was playing golf with a respected and popular pastor, enjoying a great round as well as the conversation.  The course play was moving along fairly well which for me, is critical to the enjoyment of the game.  Who likes to be held up for 15 minutes on every hole?  There is a place around the 15th hole that requires a distant walk to reach and it is near the clubhouse.  As we rounded the hole we saw three teenagers jump in front of us hoping to avoid the line at hole one.  When we got to the tee box, they were rushing to tee off, but my pastor friend came up and said, “That’s right just go ahead a tee off, but you better be watching the back of your head the rest of your round!”  Actually, there was much more said that made me cringe.  I wanted to crawl in a hole and disappear.  I was embarrassed for him and for me.  Then he went on to actually try and hit them while they were in the fairway.  The anger was intense.  I wish I could say that I rebuked this pastor, but I didn’t.  I was silent.  Quiet.  Crickets.  “Surely he knows how big a jerk he was being”, I said in my mind.  What if they came to his church this coming Sunday?  As we walked down the fairway to our balls, the conversation returned to how we should love people more effectively.  Not joking.

Sometimes we ourselves are the last ones to understand how we are behaving and how others perceive us.  Here is the hard part.  We cannot change if we don’t know our impact on other people.  We need to become self-aware, but it is hard to have these conversations as they can trigger conflict.  What if the person doesn’t see it or believe it?  Out of fear, we don’t take the risk and speak the truth about what we have experienced.   Without emotional intelligence, we will simply keep acting the same, leaving a trail of blood in our wake.  We must become self-aware.

Fortunately, not all situations are as extreme as the one I described.  But we would all benefit by growing our emotional intelligence.  The Psalmists prays a pray that I believe we should all be praying, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24 NIV.

Are you open to learning about how others see and experience you?  Are you fully aware of what is going on in your soul and how it impacts the daily decisions you are making as a leader?  What keeps you from pursuing greater self-awareness?  How do you know what is going on in your heart?

Bruce Terpstra

Our President, Dr. Bruce Terpstra, has 36 years of pastoral ministry experience. He is a veteran of 17 years in denominational leadership and developed more than 70 new churches in the New York metro area and has given oversight to almost 400 pastors. He holds a doctorate in Leadership Development and is also the founder of 3KeyCoaching and the author of Three Passions of the Soul.