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What To Do Next: Taking Your Best Step When Life Is Uncertain

Compiled by Chuck Olson

What To Do NextTitle: What To Do Next: Taking Your Best Step When Life Is Uncertain

 Author: Jeff Henderson

 Copyright: 2022

Since life and leadership is full of unknowns, having a trusted guide is a gift   beyond comparison. In his book What To Do Next: Taking Your Best Step When   Life Is Uncertain, speaker and pastor Jeff Henderson serves as that guide in   navigating the major inflection points of a leader’s life. The reader will find sage   advice not only to the question of WHAT to do next, but also (and more importantly), WHO are you becoming in the process. Also, Henderson’s description of the “waiting room” is pure gold.

Check out these Book Notes to get a glimpse of the wisdom in this book.

Chuck Olson
Founder | Lead With Your Life

Book Description:

Navigating what’s next in life–whether in your career, personal life, or relationships—often brings a level of uncertainty and anxiety and presents more questions than answers. Entrepreneur, speaker, and pastor Jeff Henderson has experienced this firsthand—first when he left his marketing position at Chick-fil-A to start a church and nonprofit, and then again when he left that nonprofit in the middle of a global pandemic to…well, he didn’t know. He just knew he needed to make a move.

This insightful book outlines the process he used to determine the next best step for him and how you, too, can pursue more meaning and purpose in your life and work. Sharing personal stories and best practices he’s learned along the way, he eloquently and practically guides you through the minefield of knowing what’s next by helping you:

Take the Career Risk Calculator and discover if you’re ready for change.

Plan for change—both the changes you want and the changes you can’t see coming.

Cultivate “optimal options” in your life that will guide you to better decision-making when the time comes.

Identify what to do and what not to do when making decisions about what’s next.

Exchange fear, confusion, and hopelessness for confidence, freedom, and purpose.

Book Quotes:

The truth is, there are some things you’ll never know or experience until you open your hands and let go. LOCATION: 314

That said, this isn’t a manifesto demanding that you leave where you are. It’s more of an invitation to join a group of people who feel a mixture of restlessness and hope. We’re restless because we feel there’s more inside us that has yet to be released. We’re hopeful because we’re holding on to the thought that our best days are ahead. LOCATION: 315

We’re also going to do some internal work, because life is not only about what to do next; it’s also about who you are becoming in the process. Actually, who you’re becoming is more important. Buckle up, we’ve got some hard but helpful self-care coming up. LOCATION: 367

This simply means looking at the cold, hard facts of where you are financially, emotionally, and vocationally. The good news is that the facts aren’t always cold and hard. They are actually a gift. Facts are not there to discourage you; facts are there to inform you. Every finish line has a starting line. In fact, the starting line provides direction toward the finish line. That’s the power of starting where you are. LOCATION: 405

You can’t eliminate risk, but you can reduce it. LOCATION: 472

Risk is inevitable, but so is reward when we manage the risk. Sometimes the riskiest decision isn’t to leave. Sometimes the riskiest decision is to stay. LOCATION: 504

The path to your dream job often leads through your day job. LOCATION: 518

Remember the pathway to what’s next: Start where you are. Use what you have. LOCATION: 631

The best form of momentum is a more emotionally healthy you. In fact, the more emotionally healthy you are, the better investigator you will become because you can spot the momentum in your life easier. LOCATION: 681

You can’t microwave character, endurance, persistence, and grit. LOCATION: 683

It’s why when I’m asked the “should I stay or should I go?” question, I ask, “How much opportunity do you have to grow your gifts, talents, and leadership ability where you are?” That answer alone should bring some clarity. And here’s why: if there’s no room to grow, it’s time to go. LOCATION: 701

The goal isn’t to have your idea win; the goal is to have the best idea win. LOCATION: 788

When we find ourselves in the waiting room, we have three paths to choose from. Waiting passively. Waiting recklessly. Waiting actively…Waiting passively is when we conclude that life is completely out of our control and we can’t do anything to move ourselves forward—kind of like being stuck in a doctor’s office and thinking you can do nothing about it…Waiting recklessly is when our frustration boils over and we leap toward the best available option. We’re exhausted from being put on hold, so we hang up and move. I completely understand, but the stories of waiting recklessly are the ones I heard often as a pastor. This kind of waiting can create some deep scars…Waiting actively is when we combine wisdom, patience, and an intentional plan to leverage this season. There actually is something we should be doing while we wait. It’s not the land of passivity; it’s not the land of being on hold. It’s the land of wisdom. LOCATION: 816-830

We all know things taste better when they simmer for a long time compared to taking a microwave approach. And yet all too often we want our lives to be microwaved so we can just move on. The waiting room is where we simmer. It’s where our greatest change takes place. It’s the seasoning, the refining, the long nights of uncertainty, where our character is formed, our values are decided, our souls are shaped. LOCATION: 838

Waiting passively squanders the time. Waiting recklessly forces the time. Waiting actively leverages the time. LOCATION: 843

Your net worth largely depends on your network. It’s true—who you know is often more important than what you know. This is why building your personal network is one of the best decisions you can make while you search for what’s next. LOCATION: 876

Remember this: what to do next is built largely on who you talk to next. LOCATION: 889

Looking back, what were some of the most helpful strategies that got you to where you are now? What do you know now that you wish you had known ten years ago? What would you do if you were me?…After asking those first three questions, you’ll finish with asking the best question I’ve ever heard when it comes to building your network: Who do you know that I need to know?…You’re not done yet though. I want you to ask one follow-up question: Would you be willing to contact them on my behalf? LOCATION: 920-930

As for me, I want to stay in the waiting room as long as it takes for me to grow, but I don’t want to stay one second longer than I have to, which is why I’m committed to growing my personal network. It’s why I keep reminding myself of this truth: I’m one person away from the next big opportunity. LOCATION: 935

As I wrote in Know What You’re FOR, it’s not about being the best in the world; it’s about being the best for the world. For this to happen, to put yourself in a position of greater influence, you’re going to have to build your network. It’s also a great strategy for fighting off worry and fear. LOCATION: 942

This leads to one of the key principles in finding your best next step: the better options you create, the better answers you’ll find. LOCATION: 1033

He was truly living out a life principle I’ve tried to emulate: our lives move to a better place when we move at a sustainable pace. LOCATION: 1097

One of the most helpful decisions I’ve ever made is developing a personal advisory board. I picked up this idea from author Jim Collins. He was being interviewed about his book Good to Great when I heard him say something that changed my life: “If Coca-Cola has a board of advisors, you should too.” LOCATION: 1131

It comes from a passage in the Bible, and no matter what your opinion is about that, this is a principle we can leverage or crash against: “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” This is one of the greatest pieces of advice you and I will ever receive when it comes to finding what’s next: the better counsel I have, the better answers I’ll find. LOCATION: 1142

There were three key indicators of the kind of people I wanted on my personal advisory board: (1) older, (2) wiser, and (3) experienced. LOCATION: 1154

I’d bring four basic questions to most of the meetings: What am I excited about? What am I worried, anxious, or angry about? What one area do I need the most help with? What would you do if you were me? LOCATION: 1165

The better you finish your current season, the better you begin your next season. LOCATION: 1232

It’s important to note that finishing well requires two parties—you and the organization. How you leave an organization is within your control; how the organization leaves you is outside of your control. Decisions will be made that are outside of your control. Finish well anyway. Decisions will be made that will hurt your feelings. Finish well anyway. Decisions will be made that will spark your friends to come to your defense. Finish well anyway. Take the high road. Control the controllables. Finish well. LOCATION: 1239

Five Strategies to Help You Finish Strong:

  1. Communicate Your Finish Plan to the Team
  2. Create a Game Plan for Emotional Health
  3. Take the High Road
  4. Express Gratitude
  5. Grieve Well LOCATION: 1258-1302

Unprocessed grief is a silent killer. If not dealt with, it goes underground and then appears in places, like emotions and relationships, in unhealthy ways. When we leave a job or the job leaves us, or when a relationship or season closes, there is a loss. And these losses need to be mourned. LOCATION: 1317

I want to help organizations understand that the aim is no longer to be the best company in the world; it’s to be the best company for the world. This is where purpose and profit grow together. LOCATION: 1484

A calling is when you realize that this is one of the moments you were created for. LOCATION: 1659

Some callings have seasons. Some are forever. To discern between the two, you can’t go solely on calling; you must discern your gifting. LOCATION: 1674

To receive what’s next, we need to open up our hands. We can’t receive what’s next until we let go of the past. LOCATION: 1744

This is why my transition consultant Bob Lewis repeatedly said on our calls, “Change is an event; transition is a journey.” LOCATION: 1747

It was true of me as well. So we’re going to let go of three primary areas, or at least we’ll begin the process. We’ll focus on letting go of past hurts, letting go of past mistakes, and letting go of what others say. LOCATION: 1776

Recently, I read Dr. Bruce Wilkinson’s book on forgiveness called The Freedom Factor: Finding Peace by Forgiving Others . . . and Yourself. One of the key points is that you don’t just forgive people generally; you forgive what they did to you specifically…He instructs us to list the people we need to forgive and then rank them in order of who has hurt us the most. We start with the first person on the list. Write down every specific hurt or offense they have done to you and then scratch through each offense with forgiveness. LOCATION: 1799-1804

If you land the perfect job with bitterness still inside, it will show up. And that’s not your best next step. Focusing on your emotional healing is one of the best counterintuitive decisions you’ll make when it comes to your next season. LOCATION: 1811

As Lysa TerKeurst wrote in her fantastic book Forgiving What You Can’t Forget, “If healing hasn’t been worked out and forgiveness hasn’t been walked out, chaos is what will continue to play out…Emotional healing is not so much a level to reach as it is a new way of thinking you choose.” LOCATION: 1813

I’ve had to learn to convert the mistakes of the past into lessons for the future. LOCATION: 1839

One of the most freeing decisions you can make is to let people be wrong about you. LOCATION: 1882

The scariest place to be is the same place as last year. No growth, no challenges. Just the same. LOCATION: 2115

Finally, thank you to you, the reader. Here’s my cell number: (404) 317-3946. After reading this, please text me with your takeaways and how I can help. LOCATION: 2404

Note: should you wish to find any quote in its original context, the Kindle “location” is provided after each entry.

Chuck Olson

As founder and president of Lead With Your Life, Dr. Chuck Olson is passionate about inspiring, resourcing and equipping Kingdom leaders to lead from the inside out.  To lead, not with the external shell of positions, achievements or titles, but from an internal commitment to a deep, abiding and transparent relationship with Jesus. Serving as a pastor and leadership coach for over forty years, Chuck has a track record of building these truths deep into the lives of both ministry and marketplace leaders.

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