CNLP 309: Terry Wardle on Why So Many Leaders Cave Under the Pressures of Leadership, Why Leaders Implode Morally, and How to Grieve Your Leadership Losses

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Few people have impacted Carey’s personal journey as much as Terry Wardle. That’s why it’s such a thrill to bring podcast listeners this interview.

Terry talks about why so many leaders cave under the pressure of leadership, what’s underneath the moral failure so many leaders experienced, and how to grieve the losses that come your way in leadership and ministry.

Welcome to Episode 309 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.

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A Failure of Nerve by Edwin H. Friedman

Some Kind of Crazy by Terry Wardle

Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

The End of Memory by Miroslav Volf

Jesus and the Disinherited by Howard Thurman

Slingstones Podcast by Terry Wardle

Healing Care Mandate International

The High Impact Leader

3 Insights from Terry

1. Dysfunctional behavior is usually the symptom of a deeper problem

Terry is convinced that aberrant behavior is driven by deep wounds and false beliefs and ungrieved loss. When he looks back on his life, his depression, workaholism, and agoraphobia was never the problem, it was the symptom of a deeper problem of ungrieved losses from his past.

Eventually, Terry was able to work through the deeper issues of his past, and has since begun leading others through a similar healing journey. He works with people who have addictions, anger issues, deep depression, and many other struggles so that they can begin to attack the real wounds that are impacting them.

2. Ministry is a series of ungrieved losses

“Every loss in life demands an appropriate season of grieving, whether you’ve lost your favorite person or your favorite end.” Now, when Terry walks into a room of pastors, he can feel the ungrieved loss in that room. This breaks his heart and causes him to want to help more people.

When Terry first taught this in a seminar, someone grabbed him and said, “Say that quote again. Just say it again.” And he did. When he repeated the statement, the person started to cry because they realized when you experience a loss and just move on, rationalize it, or get onto the business of work, you cheat the grieving process.

3. It takes an emotional laden positive experience to overcome an emotional laden negative experience

Through his time of personal healing and counseling other leaders, Terry has learned that knowing scripture isn’t enough to get over the deep wounds and fears of our past. Terry has learned that it takes an emotional laden positive experience to overcome an emotional laden negative experience.

Just knowing the scripture, “Perfect love casts out fear,” does not cast out fear. It takes a very real experience with perfect love himself to cast out fear. This is what Terry encourages people to seek.

Quotes from Episode 309

Many people and leaders are not stable in their identity, and as a result, they use performance and achievement as a way of advancing themselves. - Terry Wardle Click To Tweet Workaholism in ministry is not a matter of theology, it's a matter of pathology. And until we deal with that pathology, we're not going to be the men and women that we are supposed to be. - Terry Wardle Click To Tweet There's nothing that beats a person down more than trying to measure up. - Terry Wardle Click To Tweet While my gifting and anointing were such that there was advancement in my ministry, I was actually just crushed inside by not dealing with the brokenness of my past. - Terry Wardle Click To Tweet When you are basing your ministry on performance, your last performance isn't good enough. It has to be the next performance. - Terry Wardle Click To Tweet People want to kill the pain of loss. - Terry Wardle Click To Tweet I am convinced that aberrant behavior is driven by deep wounds and false beliefs and ungrieved loss. - Terry Wardle Click To Tweet Loss is meant to be grieved. And when we fail to grieve losses, that loss internalizes. - Terry Wardle Click To Tweet If you have the fruit of dysfunction, you have the root of wounding. - Terry Wardle Click To Tweet Grieving loss begins with finding a safe environment with people that are non condemning, empathic, who are confidential and who finally give you the permission to say what's inside and say it like it is. - Terry Wardle Click To Tweet Every wound in life, every loss in life, every false belief, needs confronted in the presence of Christ so we can be freed from those. - Terry Wardle Click To Tweet When Jesus was at his worst, God didn't give him a scripture. He gave him an experience of his presence. - Terry Wardle Click To Tweet Change doesn't happen because someone told you you need to change, change happens when you're desperate enough to say, I must change. - Terry Wardle Click To Tweet I think many of us try to forgive before we grieve. - Terry Wardle Click To Tweet You got to grieve the losses that have come your way. And then if there's someone to forgive after you've grieved it, you'll have the strength to go ahead and forgive. - Terry Wardle Click To Tweet You'll know when forgiveness is complete when the issue no longer comes to mind. - Miroslav Volf Click To Tweet

Read or Download the Transcript for Episode 309

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

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Next Episode: Jasmine Star

Jasmine Star dropped out of law school, didn’t even own a camera, and within 4 years was one of top photographers in the world. These days as a strategist, entrepreneur and social media influencer, Jasmine talks about how to find and connect with your dream customer or audience, how focusing on who you want to reach drives growth, and how to protect your online message against the algorithm changes that happen all the time.

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Carey Nieuwhof
Carey Nieuwhof

Carey Nieuwhof is a best-selling leadership author, speaker, podcaster, former attorney, and church planter. He hosts one of today’s most influential leadership podcasts, and his online content is accessed by leaders over 1.5 million times a month. He speaks to leaders around the world about leadership, change, and personal growth.