5 episodes

Join John Ortberg, the award winning author of the Life You've Always Wanted and senior pastor at Menlo Church, as he digs deep during conversations with influential thinkers, leaders, writers, and personalities who share THE "light bulb" moment that changed the trajectory of their lives. With John as the guide, he and our weekly guest will unpack how thoughts change lives--because thoughts change people.

What Were You Thinking? With John Ortberg John Ortberg

    • Christianity

Join John Ortberg, the award winning author of the Life You've Always Wanted and senior pastor at Menlo Church, as he digs deep during conversations with influential thinkers, leaders, writers, and personalities who share THE "light bulb" moment that changed the trajectory of their lives. With John as the guide, he and our weekly guest will unpack how thoughts change lives--because thoughts change people.

    Carey Nieuwhof: Facing Limits and Finding Balance

    Carey Nieuwhof: Facing Limits and Finding Balance

    On today’s episode, we get to have a discussion with the authority on quality leadership, Carey Nieuwhof. When he was a young man working at a law firm, Carey had a vision that he was supposed to be a pastor. Following that calling led him to become a founder of Connexus, now one of the most influential churches in North America. Carey has been an instrument of change that has helped the church evolve drastically over time to better serve its community, and has since found his passion for helping leaders all over the globe thrive and become the best versions of themselves. In this episode, Carey walks us through what to do when we get burned out, exhausted, and life seemingly falls apart. How do we recover from that in a way that helps us become exceptional leaders? How do we learn to balance each important element of our lives, each of which seem to demand too much from us? Carey discusses the difficulties of establishing boundaries in today’s ever-connected world, how to build better relationships with people, and how to live in a way that will help us prosper tomorrow. 
    Links, Products and Resources Mentioned:
    Carey Nieuwhof
    Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast
    “Didn’t See It Coming: Overcoming the Seven Challenges that No One Expects and Everyone Sees” book
    Connexus Church
    Osgoode Hall Law School
    The Genesee Diary: Report from a Trappist Monastery
    History of the Eagles Documentary
    Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
    Andy Stanley
    Lysa Terkeurst
    Archibald D. Hart, Ph.D., FPPR 
    ”Necessary Endings: The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Move Forward” book
    *This episode discusses suicide. If you or a loved one are experiencing thoughts of suicide, there is free and confidential support for you. Call the National Suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255 to receive prevention and crisis resources.
    Interview Quotes:
    “Andrew Steen, a physicist at Cambridge and a person of faith, talks about how physics informs the way that we think about God and theology; and in the 17th century Newtonian physics, the universe is like a giant machine. So thinking about God and His sovereignty in a pretty mechanical way kinds of made sense. Everything is cause and effect. Now with the law of indeterminacy, reality looks so much different and [Steen] says it actually fits the story of the Bible better because the God of the Bible is a God of improvisation.” 
    —John Ortberg 
    “When you're on the outside looking in, or you're 25 years old, you think, Oh, all these successful people, they're successful because they don't have any struggles right there.They're just really gifted, really talented. They work hard,they hustle and therefore they succeed—and they must not have the struggles that I have. They don't get tired. They don't argue with their spouse.They don't struggle with identity or purpose or any of that. I've had the great privilege over the last decade plus of meeting a lot of the people I used to read or admire or listen to. And you realize, when you get to know them as people, they've all got that story. And one of the ones that almost everyone moves into is the end of what they can accomplish.” 
    —Carey Nieuwhof, on our perception of others
    “Most people, if they don’t have a burnout story, there is a pivot that happens where they really, really struggle with, with the limits of what they can do.” 
    —Carey Nieuwhof, on life’s essential moments
    “I think one of the traps that got me was, Oh, so working for God must earn me points of some kind. And, oh, to not work harder is probably unfaithfulness. And so all through my thirties I cheated my family. And as our church grew, more people equals more hours, and more success equals more accolades. And I was winning church, but losing at home. And I realized when you're winning at chu

    • 52 min
    Jonathan Reckford: Habitat for Humanity CEO Fosters Radical Inclusion 

    Jonathan Reckford: Habitat for Humanity CEO Fosters Radical Inclusion 

    Habitat for Humanity CEO Jonathan Reckford is committed to solving the problems so many people face when it comes to affordable housing. After years of successfully working at for-profit companies like Disney and Marriott, Jonathan decided to shift careers as he desired to become more of a “servant leader.” Accepting the job as CEO of Habitat in 2005, Jonathan began to look closely at the issues surrounding the housing crisis that ballooned in 2008 during the economic crash, and found himself asking new questions about how to measure success—the quantity of houses being built had been the goal, but being meaningfully involved in reducing the housing deficits in the geographies Habitat served needed to be the new focus. Since Jonathan’s tenure, Habitat has re-navigated how they help people (to the tune of 9 million served per year) and aside from building homes, they pursue true social change by touching on education, financial management, and vocation as part of their services. Jonathan gives us a personal glimpse into what can happen when we focus on creating solutions over being driven by pride or ego and implores us, much like Habitat’s most well-known benefactor, President Jimmy Carter, said in his famous speech: to defer to the “better angels of our nature.”
    Links, Products and Resources Mentioned:
    Jonathan Reckford
    Habitat for Humanity International
    Our Better Angels book
    Goldman Sachs
    Circuit City
    Musicland in Minneapolis, MN
    Hurricane Katrina
    Jimmy Carter, former US President
    Jack Kemp, former Congressman & HUD Secretary
    The Henry Luce Foundation
    Interview Quotes:
    “A big question that changed for us was “How many houses can we build?” which had been our core metric, to “What would it take to meaningfully reduce the housing deficit in all the geographies we serve?” [This] is a scarier question because, essentially, it forces you to think about changing markets and policies.” 
    – Jonathan Reckford
    “We only have one world. And not to understand the impact if we all take some action in a local community—that cumulative impact of individuals choosing to act is what really creates social change over time.” 
    – Jonathan Reckford
    “When I was focused on solving a problem, or creating something, or building something, or growing something, then good things would just unfold and the next thing would show up. The more I tried to over-manage—and particularly over-manage when I was driven more by pride, or ego, or success—the worse things went.”
    – Jonathan Reckford

    Connect with John Ortberg
    John Ortberg website

    • 44 min
    Nancy Duarte of Duarte Inc: Shaping Stories That Bring Us Home

    Nancy Duarte of Duarte Inc: Shaping Stories That Bring Us Home

    Communications expert Nancy Duarte is the global leader behind some of the most influential visual messages in business and culture. As CEO of Duarte, Inc., Nancy helps leaders and companies find their voices—through presentation development, speaker coaching, and communication strategy. Nancy’s journey to the moment she realized that “stories” are our most effective communication tool came from being vulnerable with her own story. Faced with potentially having to shut the doors of her own business during the dot com bust of 2001, Nancy allowed authenticity and vulnerability to guide her steps through rebuilding and refocusing on what she did best—helping people navigate and tell their own stories with that same authenticity and vulnerability. John and Nancy discuss how we all long to be part of a great story, but that the only way “great stories” are born is by living in what Nancy calls the “messy middle.” They show us although we can’t guarantee our stories will turn out exactly as we’d like, when we hold on to deeper values and honor others, they may turn out better than we ever imagined. 
    Links, Products and Resources Mentioned:
    Nancy Duarte
    Duarte, Inc.
    Nancy Duarte TEDx talk
    Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth
    Joseph Campbell, The Hero’s Journey
    George MacDonald, Thomas Wingfold
    Abraham Lincoln Second Inaugural Speech reference

    Interview Quotes:
    “In life, we're constantly in the messy middle. You fail. You try. You get the girl, you lose, or you get bitten. And what's fascinating is the part that a lot of people don't realize is that in storytelling, the hero or the protagonist is on an inner journey and an outer journey.” 
    – Nancy Duarte
    “I looked at the rise and fall—the rise of tension and release of it—the cathartic release of story. I really studied—is there a rise and fall to great presentation? That's when I made the structural discovery that the greatest communicators use this, and that tension is built by painting a picture of the current status quo, and then this picture of a future reality—and the brain is programmed to understand [that] contrast.” 
    – Nancy Duarte
    “We love landing home, and there's something about home that is comfortable and safe. So that's part of the arc of a story. You start in your ordinary world, you go into a special world, and then you come back to your ordinary world with gifts and tools and skills you didn't have that you get to use back in your ordinary world. So it's a lot about transforming and coming home changed.” 
    – Nancy Duarte
    “The thing about telling a story that's inconclusive, and it's not done yet, is you give the audience [the choice] to jump into your story and help make it a happy ending.” 
    – Nancy Duarte
    “The sensing parts of your brain, every sensing part of your brain fires when a story is being told, and it doesn't do that with any other communication medium. Also, while you're listening to a story, your critical and analytical mind is suspended, and you'll be opened up to things that you may not have believed or considered before. There's so many things that happen in the human brain while a story's being told.” 
    – Nancy Duarte
    “I try to make a way for people to have human flourishing and a way for people to develop into something they never thought they could believe or become, because that's what happened to me. I feel like, God, if I could do this, God, anybody could do this.” 
    – Nancy Duarte
    “In life, we're constantly in the messy middle. The hero is always on both an outer journey and an inner journey. . . . We begin at home, and then we spend most of our lives in that difficult adventure, and then at the end we come back home. And it is story, not bullet points, not PowerPoints, not outlines. It's story that tou

    • 45 min
    Ron Johnson: Apple’s Genius Bar Creator Finds Kindness in the Brutal Truth

    Ron Johnson: Apple’s Genius Bar Creator Finds Kindness in the Brutal Truth

    It takes courage to innovate, to go against the tide of conventional thinking. But when we fail, it can feel nearly impossible to pivot gracefully from our mistakes, let alone face them with an open spirit and a can-fix attitude. Ron Johnson. CEO of Enjoy, knows the thrill that comes from innovation and also knows the pain of trying to innovate in a space that is unwilling to change. Ron’s career took off as the brains behind a refresh at Target that transformed the retailer’s whole brand. After that achievement, he joined Apple, and in an environment known for innovation, Ron thrived as he developed the highly successful Apple Stores and Genius Bars. With a reputation for bringing life to brands, Ron was brought on by J.C. Penney to revive the 100 old year retailer brand, but would find that his typical scenario of being a successful changemaker would be challenged and ultimately blocked completely. Ron walks us through how his successes informed him, and how his “failures” brought personal growth.  He and John reflect on how the “pool of tears” that come from difficult times can either “drown us” or “refresh” us and that it is important that we make a choice to push forward in the aftermath of adversity. 

    Links, Products and Resources Mentioned:
    Ron Johnson LinkedIn
    Designer Michael Graves
    Apple Stores
    Remembering Steve Jobs
    J C Penney
    Bible Study Fellowship
    Interview Quotes:
    “Every human being was made to flourish, every human being was made to create, every human being was made to grow.” 
    – John Ortberg
    “If you focus on getting a little better, pretty soon you'll be really good at something.”
     – Ron Johnson
    “Steve Jobs was a visionary, but he used to say, ‘The most important thing in my vision is to take that first step, and let the first step inform the next.’ Steve focused on one thing at a time, and if he did that well enough, he earned the right to do another. It's a really great mindset to life because you never get ahead of yourself.” 
     – Ron Johnson
    “One of the hardest things in life is to think through what you're trying to accomplish, and get it down into such a clear expression of words that everyone understands. And if your mission is clear, it's easy for you to step up to new ideas. But mostly in the world we live in, there's no clear direction. And so, everyone's got different opinions. So you’ve got to get that mission right, and then everything falls in place.” 
     – Ron Johnson
    “Brutal honesty may be the highest form of kindness, because most of us want to be in relationship, but what gets in the way is truth. It's really telling people how you feel. If you know how someone feels, you can learn and grow.” 
     – Ron Johnson
    “When people walk in the Apple Store, they believe Apple and the employees care deeply about them, right? And it comes back to: we live our life in the relationship business. It's true with our family, it's true with our faith, it's true with our work.” 
     – Ron Johnson
    “That's what I try to focus on through work, is really creating a culture of love that shows up through being kind to other people. When you're restoring a computer, you're being kind. When you're greeting someone, you're being kind. And when you listen to someone at work, you're being kind. When you mentor someone, you're being kind. Those are all acts of love.” 
     – Ron Johnson
    “I had these tears, and I made a choice. They could nourish me or drown me, and I chose to make them nourish, right? And so, I let that water breathe a new freshness of life. And so, while Penney's was getting worse and worse, I was actually getting stronger and stronger inside.” 
     – Ron Johnson
    “Life is not perfect. Nothing's perfect. There's no straight lines up. And so, you

    • 47 min
    [TRAILER] What Were You Thinking? With John Ortberg - Show Preview

    [TRAILER] What Were You Thinking? With John Ortberg - Show Preview

    A special preview of the "What Were You Thinking?" podcast with Pastor and writer John Ortberg. John describes how we'll plumb the depths with he and his guests as they describe the catalysts of change in their lives and how we can all capitalize on those "lightbulb" moments to create new direction and experiences.

    • 5 min

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