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Leadership Productivity

What’s On Your Crazy List?

“You’re becoming a complete grouch,” Ann told me.

This was not the sugar-coated pickup line I expected while on a date night with Ann a few years ago. She had my attention now. As the evening unfolded I discovered a blind spot that I had not been aware of. That’s the nature of blind spots.

In brief, I was bringing too many of my work challenges and people problems home with me. Ann, my trusted partner, lovingly listened and offered counsel. But apparently the volume of my complaints and frustrations had morphed into a unceasing river of cynicism. Our marriage was becoming the toxic waste dump of the ministry. Sludge oozed onto the dinner table in front of the kids. I was also setting a very poor model as a leader. Why wouldn’t others around me feel free to cast verbal rocks at our organization?

Something had to change.

The next morning I repented of my sin, opened my journal, and wrote out a long list of all the issues, challenges, missed opportunities, jobs that aren’t being done right (IMHO), and people problems that plagued me. I committed to bring them to the Lord in prayer before talking to other people about them. I titled the page “My Organizational Crazy List.”

Years later I still practice this simple habit. There are many benefits to keeping a Crazy List.

  • It helps me honestly pour out my heart to the Lord
  • It prevents me from spewing cynicism onto others
  • It keeps the natural byproducts of leadership from becoming toxic waste in my marriage
  • It allows me to focus on what I am called to do and not try to do everyone else’s job
  • It serves as a written record of God’s grace as he deals with the crazy-makers

Want some stats? My latest Crazy List accumulated 23 items over several months. I just checked it today. Sixteen of those issues have been resolved or disappeared. I did not exert noticeable effort making any of them go away. God did it. Seven remain.

Thanks, Ann. You had me at “grouch.”

What’s on your Crazy List?

By Ken

Dr. Ken Cochrum (DMin, Bethel University) is Vice President of Global Digital Strategies at Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) in Orlando, Florida. An avid cyclist and aspiring guitarist, he also holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Texas and a Masters of Arts in Biblical Studies from Dallas Theological Seminary. He recently co-founded Indigitous.org, a movement passionate about connecting people to Jesus using digital strategies. He previously served as vice president of Cru’s student-led movements worldwide. He and his wife Ann spent 13 years in East Asia where they raised their two children. Ken blogs regularly at www.onleadingwell.com.

3 replies on “What’s On Your Crazy List?”

I like that you call it a crazy list idea! And I like how wise your wife is. 🙂 I know when I am becoming judgmental of others and their leadership then it’s time to make a list and surrender it to the Lord as “things too difficult for me” and basically not my responsibility. Then I read Ps 131 again and ask The Lord to help me return to my role of “little child”.

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