CNLP 297: Gordon MacDonald Shares 8 Decades of Wisdom and Life Lessons, Father Wounds, the Dangers of Drivenness, Counselling a U.S. President, and What Leaders Struggle with Between Ages 32-42 and at Age 48 and Age 62

Gordon MacDonald has written books read by millions, spoken to almost as many and has left a lasting impact on the leadership and heart of several generations.

In this wide-ranging interview, Gordon talks about his own wounds from his father, counseling President Bill Clinton, the dangers of drivenness, and the crisis most leaders go through between ages 32 and 42, and again at ages 48 and 62.

Welcome to Episode 297 of the podcastListen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.

Guest Links

About Gordon | Books by Gordon MacDonald

Episode Links

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Ordering Your Private World by Gordon MacDonald

Ian Morgan Cron’s Enneagram Assessment

Right Path

Leading From Your Strengths

3 Insights from Gordon

1. Every leader has a 25-year timeframe to maximize their giftedness

Once a leader gets to be 60 years old, he/she needs to begin to shift/reinvent themselves. If leaders don’t make this shift, culture passes by them, and their teams and organizations do more questioning than they do following.

For Gordon, this looked like stepping out of senior leadership at the church and finding a new calling from God. At first he was asking God the question, “Do you have a calling for an old man?” God answered in a big way and showed that Gordon’s new calling is to be a father to leaders.

2. What the next generation needs to hear from a father

  1. They need to hear that they are loved and respected.
  2. They need to hear that God has great things for them if they stay on track and follow him.
  3. They need to hear from a father that when they are actively living out their faith, he sees the light of God in them.

Most young men and women will kill to hear things like this from their father.

3. Marriage comes in thirds

  • The first 20 years are the “firsts”
    In your first 20 years of marriage, you and your spouse are doing everything for the first time. First house, first kid, first careers.
  • The next 20 years are the “same”
    In the following 20 years, you are doing the same thing over and over. You write a sermon every week, you go through the same sports with the kids, and you eat at the same restaurants.
  • The last 20 years are the “lasts”
    In the final 20 years, you and your spouse are doing the last of everything. It’s your last time flying, your last time seeing people, and your last time being fully employed.

Quotes from Episode 297

Church is one of the last places anyone would want to repent. Gordon MacDonald Click To Tweet

No one ever sins alone. Gordon MacDonald Click To Tweet

Community is not only there to bless people in their finest moments, but also to take responsibility when someone fails. Gordon MacDonald Click To Tweet

The new generation desperately needs a father. Gordon MacDonald Click To Tweet

Questions are the start of almost all ministry. Gordon MacDonald Click To Tweet

Read or Download the Transcript for Episode 297

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Read or download a free PDF transcript of this episode here.

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Next Episode: Alejandro Reyes

What makes people stand out online? How do you get noticed in a world that’s so noisy? The foundations of digital marketing are surprising…not because of how trendy they are, but because of how enduring they are. Digital marketing expert and entrepreneur, Alejandro Reyes, talks about what makes companies and individuals grow online and shares lessons he learned from working in a hyper-growth environment of a $100 million dollar startup.

Subscribe for free now and you won’t miss Episode 298.

CNLP 297: Gordon MacDonald Shares 8 Decades of Wisdom and Life Lessons, Father Wounds, the Dangers of Drivenness, Counselling a U.S. President, and What Leaders Struggle with Between Ages 32-42 and at Age 48 and Age 62


  1. SmokeoVapor on January 18, 2022 at 10:09 pm

    Has anybody ever shopped at CJ Ecigs Ecig Shop located in 39 Station Road?

  2. Kevin Bussey on September 17, 2020 at 2:24 pm

    I really enjoyed this one too. Carey, thanks for all of your podcasts. They have been so helpful to me.

  3. Kris on October 18, 2019 at 9:42 pm

    I’m leaving this comment so that other people will listen to this episode. It was a good one.

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