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Becoming an Emotionally Healthy Leader with Pete Scazzero

What is an emotionally healthy leader? And what can you do to become one? Joining us on this episode of the Talent Magnet Institute Podcast is Pete Scazzero, founder of the New Life Fellowship Church in Queens, New York, the co-founder of Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, and the author of The Emotionally Healthy Leader. Today we’re talking about learning how to let go, leading out of your marriage, and the gifts of our limits.

Every ending has a new beginning

There has to be an ending before there’s a new beginning. There has to be a death before there’s a resurrection. In order for something to be birthed, we need to make room for it — something many people don’t do, out of fear that they won’t like the new beginning.

The inner life of the leader is the key to any succession process. Many people struggle with succession because who they are is grounded in their job and their role, which makes the process of letting go frightening. So it’s important to be able to grieve and feel that loss and let it go. Succession is something that will always happen in our lives. Why not be a good steward of our role in it?

There is a loneliness in succession that you must walk alone. It’s painful, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t wonderful. One of the most important things you will do in terms of your legacy is handing it over.

Leading out of your marriage

The health of the organism of your marriage is an indicator of the health of the organism of the organization. Pete recalled that he couldn’t resolve conflicts with his wife in a mature, healthy way at home — so how was he going to resolve conflicts in a mature, healthy way at the boardroom with that enormous tension and pressure? If he couldn’t have a healthy team with his own spouse, how could he build a healthy team of 20 staff?

The beauty of limits

God comes to us much more through our limits than our potential. When you embrace the gift of being limited and accept that you are just one human being, that the world is big, and that you have your part to play — you will not only accomplish much more by doing less, but you’ll also lead a much more joyful life when you’re not trying to do it all. Trying to be more than you are is what makes life messy and turns leadership into a burden instead of the joy it can be.

White space is important. Rest is important. We are not meant to work 24/7. Doing so does violence to our soul and crushes our creativity. We are built for rhythms, and without that white space, we aren’t going to be able to do the work we really need to do if we’re going to lead effectively.

A challenge for you

Who you are is more important than what you do. So:

  1. Begin to build a life where you have time to work on your interior or inner life. Take the time to look at those parts of yourself that are dark and sinful, and get some input into that. It can come from a counselor or mentor, or even taking the space to face your own shadows because you bring them wherever you go.
  2. Work on your marriage. You are going to lead out of your marriage or singleness. Invest time. Get training. Having a great marriage isn’t going to happen naturally. Having a great family is harder than building a company.
  3. Slow down your life.
  4. Have a Sabbath: a day a week that you don’t do paid or unpaid work. Let your soul rest for a 24-hour period.

These four things are pillars. If they aren’t set in stone, eventually your leadership will have cracks.


Pete Scazzero

The Emotionally Healthy Leader (Amazon)

Emotionally Healthy Discipleship Courses Leader’s Kit (Amazon)

The Emotionally Healthy Leader Podcast (iTunes)

The Emotionally Healthy Leader Podcast (Website)