The story told in Lead ... For God's Sake! follows the struggles of a basketball coach who can't figure out how to motivate his team. When advice from a CEO friend of his fails to produce any answers, the coach ends up talking to a janitor, Joe, about his failures as a leader. Through conversation between Joe and Coach, the book tells a parable of motivation and purpose founded on the Christian faith. The following is an excerpt from the book that persuaded Urban Meyer he could return to coaching while balancing his family responsibilities.
Joe set his bag of books on his desk and walked over to turn the coffee pot on. "So what's going on Coach?"
"Joe, I can’t do it. I mean, I can’t lead with the heart." The deep frustration was clear in Coach's voice. “I tried, and I failed. Flat out, I failed! I’m the biggest loser I know. I have had more success in high school coaching than any of my peers, and yet I’m a failure because I have no clue why I do what I do. I mean, I thought I knew. I thought it was for the right reasons. But my guys ... they see it differently. And my son ... he sees it differently, too. And you know what? When I search deep within my own heart, I know you’re right. I coach ‘cause I’m a fierce competitor. I want to win, I fear failure, I need to be in control, and addicted to the rush I get from my successes. My identity is firmly planted in my success as a coach. All that stuff we talked about? That’s me. And I don’t … I don't" -- Coach struggled to get the words out as he choked up -- "I don’t have a clue how to change it." Joe listened to Coach and nodded as if he knew exactly what he was experiencing.
"Not only do I not know why I coach anymore, I guess I don’t even know why I'm here on this earth.” Coach dropped his head and buried his face in his hands.
After a few moments of silence, Joe spoke up. "Coach ... you know all our talks about leading with the heart and about how answering the question why is the starting point to all that?"
"And you know how we talked about everything being centered on relationships?" Again Coach gave an affirming nod.
"Well, I have always said, there’s only one way to really live out your purpose in what you do, and that’s to commit to living out of your reason for existence first."
"Well,: said Joe, a sly grin on his face, "that’s what we’re talking about here. When you consider the reason you do what you do as a coach, you’re asking yourself the why question, And if you really want to get it right, you must remember that you were created for relationships; therefore, you have to consider your guys first. In fact, you have to consider all the relationships in your life. And when you do that, your answer to the question why becomes much bigger than just you.
"… When the answer to the why question is more about others than about yourself, it makes a big difference in everything you do. Think about some of the greatest leaders in history: Abraham Lincoln, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King Jr., If you would've asked any of them why they did what they did, they would’ve been able to answer you in a heartbeat: they all knew their purpose in life. And in each case, it clearly centered much more on others than on themselves." “Right!" exclaimed Joe. “They were all passionately focused on the interests of others, not on themselves. Interestingly, in each of their cases, there was a central focus on a relationship with their Creator, too."
-- Lead ... For God's Sake! by Todd Gongwer is published by Tyndale House Publishers. It is available for purchase from the publisher, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iTunes. Follow Todd Gongwer on Twitter @toddgongwer.