CNLP 353: Henry Cloud on How to Stop Taking Failure Personally, How to Prevent Burnout and Become Healthier in the Midst of a Year Like 2020, and How to Change Your Thinking for the Better

Clinical psychologist, leadership expert and NYT bestselling author, Dr. Henry Cloud returns to the podcast to give a virtual master class on how to handle the stress, anxiety and overwhelm of a year like 2020.

He gives practical strategies on preventing burnout, getting and staying healthier, preparing for the long run, how to battle back against negative thoughts and how to stop taking failure personally.

Welcome to Episode 353 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.

Plus, in this episode’s What I’m Thinking About segment, Carey talks about why you don’t de-stress during your vacation and why time off never seems to be enough.

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Episode Links

The Global Leadership Summit

2020 has been a year like never before, so this year’s Global Leadership Summit will be a Summit like never before, provided both in-person and as an enhanced digital experience. With the theme “You Have Influence,” 2020 GLS includes more than 15 world-class faculty including Craig Groeschel, Nona Jones, Nike director Beth Comstock, Sadie Robertson Huff, Bishop T.D. Jakes and Lysa TerKeurst.

We have never needed more encouragement, inspiration and skills to navigate our world, and these top-notch speakers will address how we can each lead through crisis. GLS 2020 will be telecast live in HD from Chicago to hundreds of host locations across the country or online on August 6-7.

Podcast listeners get $20 off the individual ticket rate now through August 6th when you use the code: CAREYPODCAST at

CDF Capital

Have you ever wondered what the future of the digital church looks like? Are you considering your church’s next steps towards being more digital? Are you worried that your church might be left behind in this current cultural shift?

Our friends at CDF Capital Leadership are launching a brand new FREE 3-part video series designed to help churches like yours move from just having a digital presence to a strategic digital ministry. This is a free resource you should take advantage of.

Text NEWERA to 44222. The first video launches on July 16th, so act today.


Necessary Endings by Dr. Henry Cloud

The Power of the Other by Dr. Henry Cloud

Boundaries for Leaders by Dr. Henry Cloud

Integrity by Dr. Henry Cloud

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Why Your Time Off Will Never Be Enough to Truly Destress You by Carey Nieuwhof


1. Focus on controlling what you can control

In normal conditions, we often try to control things—people, circumstances, outcomes, etc. In this unusual time, life can feel especially out of control. When you lose control and you have fewer choices, your brain hits a shutdown mode, and it goes into a known place called learned helplessness. You start to think, “There’s nothing I can do.” That’s why people feel lethargic or can get into a daze. So, Henry says to focus on controlling what you can control.

So, what can you control? You can control yourself. Henry compares it to driving a car. If you’re driving in a snowstorm or rainstorm, that might make the car seem less controllable. The things you have control over are the steering wheel, the brakes, and the gas. And it might seem we’re in a snowstorm or rainstorm right now, and we can’t control the outcome, but what things about ourselves CAN we control?

2. The 3 P’s

When life does feel out of control, we can shut down. Henry says our brains interpret it as a power outage. And then there’s a power outage, we respond with the three P’s:

  1. We Personalize it
    We feel bad, not good enough. We respond with, “Why did I ever think I could do that.” Or, “I should have done that differently.”
  2. It becomes Pervasive
    We say things like, “I bet next time it’s not going to be different.” Or, “I don’t know if we’re going to get better.”
  3. We see it as Permanent
    So, now hope is gone, and you’re done. And you can’t move, you don’t know what to do.

Henry tells us that we have to then reboot our system.

3. How to reboot your system

If you’re experiencing a loss of control, and you find yourself shutting down, Henry says there are four things we must do to reboot our system:

  1. Get connected in your vulnerability
    When you connect with others and share deeply, you realize you are not alone.
  2. Get back in control of what you can control
    It’s what we talked about earlier. A simple practice you can do is to make two columns of things you can control and those things you cannot. And, focus on prioritizing the things you can.
  3. Log your thoughts
    Realize the negative thoughts you are having are not real thoughts. When your stress hormones go up, the brain emits negative thoughts, because stress hormones are by definition activating the system that fears.
  4. Find some quiet time
    Start thinking about your thinking. “Have I gotten negative? Have I gotten hopeless? Am I thinking in weird terms? Have I gone critical? Have I gone powerless?”Decatastrophize whatever’s going on so that you can see it in a larger narrative.

Quotes from Episode 353

Opportunity favors the prepared. @DrHenryCloud Click To Tweet

Nobody rises to a challenge. You fall to your level of training. @DrHenryCloud Click To Tweet

Margin gives you options. @cnieuwhof Click To Tweet

If you have a little bit of physical, emotional, financial, spiritual margin, you can spend it in a crisis. @cnieuwhof Click To Tweet

God has made you to be a control freak. He's wired your brain to be a control freak. @DrHenryCloud Click To Tweet

There's things that happen incarnationally that don't happen digitally. @DrHenryCloud Click To Tweet

Time off won't heal you when your problem is how you spend time on. @cnieuwhof Click To Tweet

A sabbatical isn't the solution for an unsustainable pace. A sustainable pace is the solution for an unsustainable pace. @cnieuwhof Click To Tweet

Categorical decision making is a game-changer, because with one decision, you make so many other decisions in that moment. @cnieuwhof Click To Tweet

Read or Download the Transcript for Episode 353

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

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The world is experiencing a series of unprecedented challenges, and you’re leading in the midst of it all.

I’ve got an online, on-demand course, called How To Lead Through Crisisthat can help you lead your team, your church and yourself through the massive disruption.

The course is the gift from me and my team to you and leaders everywhere. In light of everything that’s going on, we decided to make it available 100% free.

Inside How To Lead Through Crisis, you’ll learn how to:

  • Cultivate a non-anxious presence that inspires confidence and trust.
  • Care for yourself so the crisis doesn’t break you.
  • Master the art of fast-paced, clear decision making.
  • Gather and interpret the most reliable data that will advance your mission
  • Advance digitally to scale past physical barriers and grow your outreach.
  • Lead your team and congregation remotely

While no one has all the answers in a crisis this big, in the course, I share the mindsets, habits, tools and strategies that I believe will help you lead through crisis to get you and the people you lead to a new (and better) future.

You can enroll and get instant access for you and your team here.

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Next Episode: Jo Saxton

“You have one body, and your leadership lives in it.” Jo Saxton had a lot to overcome from her childhood, and it caused her to become a driven leader in her thirties. Eventually, her drivenness led her into a burnout so deep she ended up in the hospital. Jo not only recovered but figured out how to accomplish more by doing less. She explains how that happened and how to reduce the level of fear and anxiety your team experiences.

Subscribe for free now so you won’t miss Episode 354.

CNLP 353: Henry Cloud on How to Stop Taking Failure Personally, How to Prevent Burnout and Become Healthier in the Midst of a Year Like 2020, and How to Change Your Thinking for the Better

1 Comment

  1. Craig Walker on July 15, 2020 at 12:19 pm

    Great stuff, Carey! Like everyone else in the world of leadership, I always learn from Henry Cloud.

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