What to Do Next - Jeff Henderson
Do you want to move forward in your work, but feel like your past is weighing you down? Or maybe you know where you want to go, but you're uncertain about your best next step? Jeff Henderson, author of What To Do Next: Taking Your Next Step When life is Uncertain talks to us about how to take your next step.
- Genesis 12:1
- Genesis 15-18:15
- What to Do Next by Jeff Henderson
- Jeff’s Website: https://jeffhenderson.com/
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Leah Archibald: Making It Work is brought to you by The Max De Pree Center for Leadership at Fuller Theological Seminary and the Theology of Work Project.
Mark Roberts: Welcome to Making it Work.
LA: Through conversation, scripture and stories, we invite God into work’s biggest challenges... so that you can live out your purpose in the workplace.
MR: I’m Mark Roberts.
LA: And I’m Leah Archibald. And this is Making It Work.
Do you wanna move forward in your career, but feel like your past is weighing you down? Or maybe you know where you wanna go, but you're uncertain about what's your best next step?
Our guest today is the author of the book, What To Do Next: Taking Your Best Step When Life is Uncertain. An entrepreneur, speaker, business leader and former pastor, Jeff Henderson, started his career in marketing for the Atlanta Braves and Chick-fil-A, where he led regional and beverage marketing strategies. Jeff Henderson was recently named one of 20 speakers you shouldn't miss by Forbes Magazine. Today he's here to talk to us about how to let go of your past so you can take your next step. Jeff Henderson, welcome to the Making It Work podcast.
Jeff Henderson: Leah, so good to see you. Thanks for having me, I'm honored to be here.
Leah Archibald: Jeff, I wondered if you could start by giving us a little background about yourself, and specifically what are some of the job transitions that you've made? And were there any that you did well, that you were proud of? Or maybe were there any that you regret?
Jeff Henderson: Well, yeah, I grew up a preacher's kid, so Leah, I promised myself I would never, ever, ever work at a church.
So I worked at a church for 18 years, so if no one gets anything out of what I say today, Leah, just right down, "Never say you're never going to do something." Okay?
Leah Archibald: "Never say never."
Jeff Henderson: But my dad was my hero, he was amazing, and he passed away nine years ago, but he told me early on in my 20s, "Hey, if you can... " I don't know what it is about preacher's kids, everybody expects you to go into the family business, right? So my dad said, "Hey, go do something else if you... You gotta feel called with this."
So I was a big sports fan and I didn't know that you could do sports marketing, I didn't even know that was a thing, and so I, long story short, got a job in sports marketing with the Atlanta Braves and loved it, and then that led to a variety of other marketing jobs here in the Atlanta area where I live, and then ultimately, which led to Chick-fil-A.
And I managed their sports marketing and beverage marketing and reach marking efforts, and no one ever leaves Chick-fil-A, other than crazy people like me. But long story short, my wife Wendy and I felt called to leave Chick-fil-A and help join North Point Ministries here in Atlanta area to help them launch their first multi-site church, is a multi-site video church, one of the first multi-site video churches in the country, and that was 18 years ago. And since then we've launched...
Leah Archibald: I was gonna say, what year was that? Because...
Jeff Henderson: 2003.
Leah Archibald: Multi-site video churches are a big deal now, but you were ahead of the curve on that.
Jeff Henderson: Yeah, 2003, it was... I mean, imagine me trying to tell my parents and my in-laws, "Hey, I'm leaving a multi-billion dollar company to go work in a church where the preacher is on video." So that didn't really make... Talk about transition, career transitions, that didn't make much sense.
And one of the questions I get, Leah, from people about career transitions is, how do you eliminate risk? And my perspective is, well, I got good news and bad news. The bad news is, you do not eliminate risk, it's impossible. That's not the world we live in. But you can manage it, you can shrink it, and that's what we can talk about a little later, about how do you do that?
So then we made that transition and did it for 18 years, but now we're empty nesters and I had some wise mentors around me saying, "Hey, you're getting the opportunity to influence a lot more businesses and churches around the country, and you're having to say, no a lot, so we think it's probably time for you to make another career transition."
I've made four big career transitions over the last 20 years, so this one is coming up on two years. And so I go serve businesses, I got to work with businesses, but I also help serve churches and pastors as well. So I'm living what I'm talking about in terms of what to do next, 'cause that's what I'm doing right now.
Leah Archibald: Now, it sounds like you have a good track record with transitions, but I know it's hard to go from the corporate world to the business world, and back again. And Mark, I know this is something that you've done as well. Mark, what do you get from just even the overview of Jeff's story, and what's so hard with those transitions?
Mark Roberts: Well, partly I'm thinking, you know, there was a time when Jeff's story would have been really unusual, and now it's increasingly common, right? That so many... And of course, in the season of The Great Resignation or whatever we call it now, but even beyond that and outside of that, that people are making major transitions in a way that would not have been the case, certainly in my dad's generation and even moreso, my grandfather. My grandfather worked for 45 years for the same company.
And so partly I'm thinking, "Yeah." And part of what that gives you, Jeff, is an opportunity out of your own experience to really address the real issues of transition, so you're not just a guy that studied it and thought about it and had some good biblical wisdom, though that would all be true. But you've been living this thing, which gives you an extra measure of empathy and wisdom and insight. And so when you're talking about stuff, and this is true in your book too, which I had the opportunity to read, you can draw from your life.
I mean, again, I think some of the challenges are the unexpected of it. It's not like we've been... Not like we took a class in college on job transitions, right? This is new stuff. And so the stuff that you're developing, Jeff, just so speaks to where people are. It's gonna be really helpful to them.
Jeff Henderson: Well, thank you, Mark. And to your point, sometimes we happen to next, and sometimes next happens to us. The company gets downsized, there's a new boss that comes in and goes in a different direction, the church makes a different decision or whatever, we've all been there.
And there are people that stay within the same company, one of my best friends has worked at Chick-fil-A for 30 years, but he's had a series of next steps because he keeps growing. So this isn't a plea for people to leave their job, it is a plea for people to open up their hands, because if you don't open up your hands, God can't put anything new in there.
And sometimes we hold on too tight to what we think is security and safety, and I'm all for comfort and security, but sometimes you have to let go. And for those that are in that season, that's why I wrote the book. But I appreciate you sharing that, Mark. Leah, I'd love to know your course for transitions, what was that process like for you?
Leah Archibald: I love this conversation 'cause among us, we got so many [chuckle] transitions, but I graduated from an MBA program with a degree in Marketing, and I spent my first 10 years in software marketing. And then I was called to have children, and so as many women do, I took a few years off, when I was raising my children and I thought, "I'm never gonna go back. I'm never going back to a cubicle, I'm never going back to an office, I'm just gonna be driving the kids here and there, and focus on making cookies." And what... [chuckle] There's a lot more to motherhood than making cookies.
But that's what I was gonna focus on. And after a couple of years, as my children got older, I felt this restlessness inside of me that was telling me, motherhood is a good gig, but it's not everything that I want to do with my brain and my skills and my talents. And just at that moment, I had this opportunity to work for a ministry, a parachurch ministry.
A Christian ministry, which combined my marketing skills with my love of the Bible, which was something that was just on my own time in my faith journey. So if you had told me when I started out at business school, "In 15 years, you're gonna be talking to people on a podcast about their experience at work and how it relates to Scripture," I would have said, "That's not a job that exists. So I can't imagine seeing myself as a podcast host, talking to people about their experience at work." So I just agree with you, Jeff, that job transitions are often spurred on by these surprises, and I wonder how you tell others to prepare themselves for these surprises, to prepare themselves to, as you said, open your hands to what God might have for them.
Jeff Henderson: Well, it's interesting too, as I talk to people, both of your stories are very... There's similar patterns in the sense that 15 or 10 and years ago, or however many longer years, it's not like... And so I know exactly what's gonna happen, right? "I'm gonna go get an MBA, and then here's what's gonna happen." That's not the story of anyone, and so when I tell people, "Hey, you don't have to figure out the rest of your life. You didn't figure it out 15 years ago. You just have to figure out what to do next."
And when I tell people that, you could just see the pressure just drain from their faces. You go, "I don't think I can figure out the rest of my life, but I think I can figure out my best next step." And I'm not saying necessarily you leave where you are, you go somewhere else.
I'm saying, your best next step might be to listen to this podcast. Your best next step may be to ask someone for coffee and go, "Hey, who do you know that I need to know, and can you ask them to meet with me on my behalf?" You pointed out, Leah, a really important word that I'd like to underline and highlight for our listeners, and that is the word "restlessness". That's...
There's a sense... I think, and Mark, you mentioned The Great Resignation. I think that is the pinpoint. There's a restlessness. And I don't think that's a bad thing. I think for me... I can't speak for everyone, but I would say for a good portion of people that restlessness is, and they may not have identified it this way, but I think what they're tapping into is, "I think there's more God-given potential in me that's not being tapped."
I think there's more in me than my current role or opportunities. And you've mentioned this, I mean you love being a mom, "But I think there might be something else." There's a restlessness. I actually think that restlessness can be something that's given to us by the Lord to push us forward, that restlessness keeps us moving forward.
For example, from my perspective, I could have, in the transitions that I made, I could have stayed where I was, because it was wonderful, things were going great, I loved the people, but there was this... There was this restlessness that said, "Oh, I think I've got to try this." When I was at Chick-fil-A and I saw this idea, it was called Buckhead Church, Buckhead's this area in Atlanta.
I thought, "If we do this, and if the Lord blesses it, I wanna be a part of that." And at some point, my current situation was kind of ruined in a sense, 'cause I was so intrigued by what was next. And so I think that restlessness that you talked about, Leah, is really important.
So if people are feeling that restlessness, sometimes I think we push it away and fight against it, and I would say, "No, no, no, no, it may be there for a reason." It actually might be the Lord tapping you on the shoulder going, "Hey, what do you think you could do with the potential that I blessed you with?"
Leah Archibald: I see that even in Scripture, I'm thinking of there is some restlessness in Jesus's disciples before they even encountered Jesus. I'm thinking... And they were fishermen, they were not necessarily looking for a job transition, but they were looking for a Messiah, in that they were checking out John the Baptist to see if he was the guy.
They were looking to see if Jesus was the guy before they even met Him. So Mark, I wonder if you see that story as an example of some kind of spiritual restlessness that actually prepared the disciples to meet Jesus?
Mark Roberts: Well, that's a good reading in, because you certainly wonder what it was about them that made them so willing to leave everything, and as you say they were looking. They were looking for the Messiah. So perhaps they hadn't connected that to a job change, as you say, but there was a yearning, a desire in them.
I think of the Apostle Paul, whom we know would sort of went around planting churches all over the ancient world. And he talks about that as being his ambition, he actually uses the word we translate in English as "ambition". Which is one of the things sometimes we're told as Christians, "Well you should be ambitious, you know, you wanna serve God," but there was a godly ambition.
And it would be I think quite apt to say in Paul, there was a restlessness about him, not restless in terms of not trusting God or any of that kind of restlessness, but restlessness for the mission that God had given him, restlessness to steward the gifts in the calling.
Leah Archibald: He certainly had a lot of get up and go. You know, he didn't stay in one place for too long. As soon as he got a church established, he was off to the next one.
Mark Roberts: Yeah... And now... But as Jeff said, doesn't mean we all have to do exactly that, because as you've said Jeff, even within one situation, you can change. About a year and a half ago, I had a major change in my job within the De Pree Center in Fuller, I was the boss and I hired a great person, and now I made her the boss and I work for her.
And that's been a big change. She's awesome, it's been great. But I would say there was a restlessness in me to be able to focus more on the things I really ought to do. And I think there was a restlessness in her because she has so much leadership in her. So even though she wasn't pushing for anything, it just was the right thing, though I still work in the same organization.
Jeff Henderson: And I think too, if you look at Abraham, Abraham was... When Abraham was leaving, he didn't know where he was going, but he was headed somewhere. And when I talk to people who are trying to figure this out, I say, "Hey, let's get going." And they're like, "I don't know what to do." I'm like, "I mean, we can do some things. We can keep moving."
One of my mentors, John Maxwell, said... He made this statement a couple of years ago, that I will never forget. He said, "I never had a clear vision, I just kept moving forward." And when he said that, I was speaking at a conference with John and what he said that, I thought, "Wait, what? I understand a mere mortal like me doesn't have a clear vision, but John Maxwell, the leadership guru, you didn't have a clear vision?" And he said, "I just had to take action."
And so with that restlessness that people have, they need to take action. Action could be calling somebody up on the phone, trying to get your financial house in order, if you will. One of the things that breaks my heart is when people discover what's next, but they're in such financial bondage, they can't pursue it. One of the best things that people can do is to get their finances in order so that they're ready for whatever God may bring their way.
So I think there are some things that people can do to figure this out, and Abraham I think is an example, he just kinda ventured out, even though he wasn't quite sure where this was going.
Leah Archibald: What I love about the Abraham story is that there was a lot of past that he had to let go of when he followed God's call to go to the next place. He was leaving... In those days, when you left your family, you're probably never gonna see 'em again. You know, the journey was... Especially when you leave with your whole family and animals and da da da. He was probably not gonna go back. There's no way to fly back home, right?
So he had a lot of past to let go of, and I wanna bring in something from your great book, the book is What To Do Next: Taking Your Best Step When Life Is Uncertain. And there's something that you mention in your book, which is that, "We can't receive what's next until we let go of the past." I wondered if you could give us a little more context of what you mean by that and how you see that happening both in Scripture and in people's lives?
Jeff Henderson: Well, that's a great question, Leah. I think one of the things you have to let go of is your identity. Not our identity in who we are in Christ. But when people meet you, "Hey Leah, nice to meet you." "What do you do?" is the next question, right? Well, for 18 years I was the, "Hey, I'm the pastor of Buckhead Church. Oh I'm the pastor of Gwinnett Church. I'm the Pastor of the second Gwinnett Church's location."
And then instantly overnight that went away and I had to let go. So when I would meet people, they would go, "Oh, what do you do?" And then I would go with this meandering description of, "Well, I've got an... " 'Cause I wasn't... I didn't leave from one company to get to the next, I was leaving from one company to an idea, a hope, a dream to serve businesses and churches. And I'm all for hopes, I'm a dreamer, but what I've discovered is that the bank does not deposit hopes and dreams. I've asked them and they said no.
Leah Archibald: What? What a bummer.
Jeff Henderson: So I think one of the things you have to let go of is that the answer to that question of... It may not be as crisp as... And clear. And so if you wanna call it "identity" or whatever, there's that. I think you have to let go of security, and what I mean by that is just the security of knowing where you're gonna go on Monday mornings.
And sometimes you have to let go of the community. For us, we just didn't leave our job, we left our church, we left our community to be able to serve other churches. So you begin to leave your routines, your rhythms, your community, you leave... There's a lot of the loss. And that's one of the chapters in the book is grief.
I tell people, "Hey, I know you didn't get this book to talk about grief, but a portion of next is letting go of what you had in the past." And one of the best pieces of advice I've gotten on leaving is, "Jeff, when you leave, leave. Don't linger, don't stick around. You gotta leave and give room for the leaders to fill the gap and move on."
And so there's a lot that you have to let go of in order to receive new things. So identity, purpose, rhythms, community, people, all that is changing in the season, that's why I have courage for people... Or respect for people that do this.
Mark Roberts: Man...
Leah Archibald: I'm thinking... Oh, go ahead.
Mark Roberts: That is so true. [chuckle] I just... So I mentioned to you, I was the executive director of the thing, now I'm not, and for the first few months people asked me, "So what do you do?" And I'm like, "Oh man, I'm the former executive director." That was my identity. 'Cause my new role is senior strategist. What the heck is that?
I had to to... I had to unravel that. You're absolutely right. And that, that can be a really hard thing to do if we're tied up. So that... Grieving the loss, if it's a loss for you, but then also being able to let it go, that's... Man, I just, I'm really relating to that at the moment.
Jeff Henderson: Do you know what else there is, Mark? Is, one of my best friends told me this, 'cause he'd been through a similar transition. And he wasn't being critical of anybody, he was just going, "Hey, let me tell you a matter of fact what's gonna happen." He said, "You're gonna be surprised at how quickly you're forgotten."
Part of me was like, "No, no, no, I'm the founding pastor of this church." And so... And it's not that they've forgotten necessarily, but they have to move on. We stepped off the train and that train kept going and they gotta keep going. And while that can be painful, it's also very healthy as well.
I've experienced this a lot in terms of leaving. I've founded... I helped found three churches and moved on, and this isn't just true for church, well, it's true for businesses, but I'm so grateful I didn't sacrifice my family and my marriage on the altar of work. Because at some point, somebody else is gonna be the lead pastor of this stuff, or somebody else is gonna be the executive director of this or that, or somebody else is gonna be the chief marketing officer, but no one can be the first husband to Wendy and the father of Jesse and Cole.
So I gotta have my priorities right, and so when I leave and make a transition, it's helpful for me to go, "This is a season, be sure that you're not wrapped up in this completely 'cause there's more important things than just a job."
Leah Archibald: I feel like one of the burdens that we have to let go when we transition from jobs is not just identity, but also the sense of responsibility. I really identify with the story that you just shared, because one of the greatest lessons I feel like I learned spiritually is when I was leaving my job and business to go be a mom full-time, and I had all this fear, not necessarily for me, 'cause I was ready, but I had fear for my company that I was working for.
And I was the director of this department. I had done... I knew everything about every account, everything about the software system, nobody knew it like I did, and I was really had this high level of fear, and I prepared this whole binder, "This is all the training, this is everything you need to know."
And I expected that the week after I left, I was gonna get all these phone calls, "How did you do this, how do you do this?" and I was ready for it. I left on a Friday, and it was just radio silence, for the... Nobody ever called me again, they're like, "Leah is out, we're gonna figure this out on our... " I don't even know what they thought, they just... They didn't even call me.
And I had this beautiful realization that it's not me that makes the world turn, the world doesn't need Leah's effort to make the sun rise in the morning, like it's gonna keep going no matter what role I was in, and that really lifted a burden on me, which is my own sense of responsibility and perfectionism.
Jeff Henderson: But I will say, Leah... I agree completely with you, but I do think it was the... It's the ultimate sign of leadership test that if you left and everything fell apart and everybody is calling you non-stop, you didn't set them up for the future.
Leah Archibald: Oh, you're making me feel better. [chuckle] Thank you for the compliment.
Jeff Henderson: It's true. I mean, if the leader leaves and the whole thing falls apart and people go, "We don't know what to do now," you have not apprenticed the next generation of leaders. And I do think this is why some leaders hang on too long. First of all, they know how painful it's gonna be, so they don't wanna go there, right? And they haven't set up the next generation of leaders.
At the end of the day, this is the ultimate test of leadership that you set it up, you did a great job, you handed it off and they kept going. If everything falls apart, then there was a mishandling of the baton. And we see leadership batons being dropped all over the place. But not with you, Leah. You did an awesome job. And so that radio silence is actually, even though it can be painful, it is actually a good sign.
Leah Archibald: Well, I think after that, then I had to go through my own grief processes, "Oh, I'm no longer a director of Marketing at this place, I'm just some kid's mom."
Jeff Henderson: Well, and now you're... But I think... But in that moment, now your hands are open, you're like, "God, what's gonna come next?" and here we are on this podcast. So God begins to begin to fill things and to place things in your hand, but it is the grieving process. I actually hired a transition consultant to help me during this process, and it's kind of a fancy title for therapist, but he does help people with their transitions.
I told him one day I got a call for a speaking engagement that I was very excited about, and then I took two steps from my desk to go tell my wife, and I'm just overcome with grief of all that we have left and lost, and I said... So one moment, I'm incredibly excited, the next moment I'm crying, and I said, "Am I losing my mind? What is going on here?"
And he said, "No, the emotionally healthy person can hold joy and sorrow at the same time." And that's what next does for people. You gotta get to a point that you're willing to let go of something that you love in order to receive something, and there's a mixture of holding joy and sorrow at the same time. This season is not for the faint of heart, but it's for the brave, it's for the people that will leverage that restlessness in a proactive and positive way.
Mark Roberts: That's so great. You know, Jeff, I don't know if anybody said this to you or you thought this, but I'm spending an... Surprisingly, to me, in this season of my life, I'm spending an awful lot of my time now professionally helping people with what we call the "third third of life", which includes in many cases, some version of retirement, although that is not nearly what it once was.
And I'm thinking to myself as I've read your book and now as I'm listening to you, your book is mainly for folk who are in career and they're still in their working lives, and that's great, but you got another book. [chuckle] You could just go ahead and change the illustrations and... Yeah.
'Cause seriously, what you're talking about here is also incredibly relevant for people who are going through that latter transition in life, either from full-time work to not working at all, or part-time work, but all of the same wisdom is relevant here. So just... I just wanna plant that seed for you that, this in the season, you're doing exactly what you ought to be doing now, but in time, you've got an awful lot to offer to folk who are in the next stage too.
Jeff Henderson: Thank you, Mark. And somebody was asking me the other night, "Is this for people that are in mid-life crisis?" And I said, "Well, yes." Then someone else said, "Is this for somebody that's graduating from college?" "Yes." It's for anyone that's in a season of next, it's... And that's...
At some point, whether you stayed at the same job for 30 years, at some point, we are all... At the end of the day, we are one step closer to whatever that next is for us that's coming, and the more prepared you are for it in terms of building your network, understanding your gifting and moving forward, the better position you're gonna be when next arrives, and next will arrive at some point.
Leah Archibald: I'm thinking again of the Abraham story in the Bible, 'cause he's actually talked a lot with God one-on-one, this makes me think of the Abraham story in the Bible.
As you mentioned, Jeff, the mixing of joy and grief in life transitions. 'Cause I think Abraham is someone who expressed that to God really well. He expressed his joy at the promise that God for him, but he also expressed his sorrow at the grief that he felt for not having a child, not having an heir for so long. Waiting, wandering in the wilderness, waiting for God to fulfill his promise.
And both of these, he expressed very clearly and verbally to God himself. So I'm imagining he experienced both at the same time, this dual purpose, this dual experience that you talk about, that your transition coach was telling you about, it was actually pretty Scriptural.
Jeff Henderson: Absolutely. And Abraham had a very open and honest and frank... He said some things to God that I'm like, "I don't know. You're pushing it here a little bit." So he was... But I think I God, God, God respected that. The other thing I think we can learn from both Abraham and Sarah is their reaction to being in the waiting room, and with all due respect, they waited a long time before they had a child.
And they kinda... They exemplified the three ways that you can act in a waiting room, only one of which is healthy, right? There's waiting recklessly. So Sarah finally says, "Alright, I'm done. We gotta... I gotta... I'm gonna take this into my hands, here's what we're gonna do, alright?" Well, we're still living with the ramifications of that decision.
Or you can wait passively, meaning that, "I'm a victim, and I'm just gonna pout and not do anything." Or you can wait actively, and there are some things that you can do in a season of waiting that can help position you for a season of next and can help you. So I think their lives are perfect examples, and I think ultimately, it's an example of God's patience, God's forgiveness and God's redemption. And God's gonna still write the story that He's gonna write. We can participate in it, or we can rebel against it, but He's gonna do it.
Leah Archibald: Now, Jeff, I wonder if you could also transition recklessly or passively or actively? Are those adjectives that can also refer to transitions in our lives?
Jeff Henderson: Absolutely. Great question, Leah. And I see this happen a lot. This is why I really encourage people when they're leaving, to finish well, because how you finish your current season dictates in a large part, how you begin your next season. And finishing well, I don't think we write a lot about that or we don't hear a lot about that, and we see leaders who just didn't finish well.
And sometimes, especially when you're leaving a job, it's like, "What are they gonna do? I've put in my two-week notice. What are they gonna do, fire me? They can't do anything." But that doesn't honor the people that you're working with, doesn't honor the organization, and it doesn't honor you and what you're trying to leave behind. And so don't leave recklessly and don't leave passively, just not taking it seriously. You can leave actively.
An example of that is when I left Gwinnett Church, I put in a six-week notice, but I'd been talking about this for many months in advance, and this wasn't a surprise to the people that I worked with or worked for. And then I sat down with our leadership team and said, "Okay, I got six weeks left. Here are the projects that I'm gonna complete. Are these the projects you want me to complete? 'Cause I work for you."
And that was, "I'm gonna meet with as many volunteers as we can, I wanna meet with every staff person. I'm gonna write every staff person a handwritten "thank you" note. Here's all the things I'm gonna do. Is this what you want me to do?" And they all said yes.
And so I just worked as hard as I could to the very last moment because I wanted to finish well, and I think... Now, how you leave an organization is one thing, how the organization leaves you is another thing. That's their control, you have within your control. 'Cause some of our listeners could be saying, "Well, the organization didn't leave me well," or, "This is what the organization did." I totally get that, and we need to work through all those emotions. But as it relates to you, leave well.
One of my first business mentors encouraged me to leave things better than when you found them, and there should be... There's a wake in all of our lives and all of our leadership, and I wanna look back and see a positive wake that I've left and positive impact and I've left.
And that will propel you forward. So don't... Don't as much as it relates to you, as Paul said... He didn't say, "Don't burn bridges," that's as my words. But don't burn bridges, because ultimately when you burn bridges, you're the one that gets burned the most. Now, that's not to say there shouldn't be necessary endings, as Henry Cloud talks about, all that.
I believe in all that as well. But as it relates to finishing, to your point, you're talking about finishing well, Leah, you can finish recklessly or you can finish passively, or you can finish intentionally and actively.
Leah Archibald: So this conversation has really run the gamut through the course of a career and all the different transitions you might have, from starting a career to ending it. I wonder if you have some last advice, closing advice, Jeff, for people who are facing that edge of the cliff drop off for their next transition? What is the next one step in front of us when we're facing a big scary transition?
Jeff Henderson: When people come to me, Leah, and they say, if next has happened to them. They're out of a job and they're like, "What's the first thing I need to do? Is it to update my resume?" And I say, "That's important, but no, that's not the first thing." "Is it to go on LinkedIn and post something?" And that's important, but no.
The first thing you should do is get out your phone, go to your contact list and kinda identify the top 10 people in your contact list that you can talk to, either in your field or out of the network in your field that you can go meet with. Because we all know who you know is often more important than what you know. And sitting down with people and saying, "Can you tell me your story? I'm in a transition. And what would you do if you were me? And then who do you know that I need to know? And would you be willing to contact them on my behalf?"
I feel like we're two or three or four people away from the next opportunity. We just don't pick up the phone and leverage the network that we have. And a lot of people will go, "Well, I don't know that many people." If it's three people, you certainly know three people, I mean, or two people, who can you call? And if you are intentional about this, you will be shocked at how quickly you can build your network in just a matter of days.
And again, you're just two, three or four people away from that next opportunity. Apparently we're all just six degrees away from Kevin Bacon from Footloose. So if we're just six degrees away from him, you're probably three people away from your next opportunity. And again, that gives you something to do.
That's the other thing. That action. Courage is not the antidote to fear, action is. And when you take action, when you pick up the phone and you call somebody and say, "Would you meet with me?" even if they say no, you're gonna get some courage 'cause the action led first. So I would... That's the first thing I would do, is I would contact as many people as you possibly can.
The other thing, we have a free assessment called the Career Risk Assessment, it's just at jeffhenderson.com, completely free, but it'll give you a red light, yellow light, or green light, and with each light, it tells you the work that you need to do to move to the next step. And red light doesn't mean you failed, and green light doesn't mean you need to go.
But it puts the risk in category, and it puts the risk on a piece of paper and go, "Oh, I can handle that." Because if you don't do that, the risk just becomes this invisible weight that seems like you can't overwhelm it. And this is an opportunity in the season for God to grow your faith like never before, because in the seasons like this, God now has our full attention like never before.
I may have mentioned this earlier, but this is the first time in my career that I haven't got paid every two weeks. I'm not working for a company, I'm working for me now. And so God has my full... He always... God should always have our full attention, but it's in seasons like this, we're like, "Okay, I'm desperately in need of God." And so this is a season for God to grow your faith in a way that maybe He can't when everything is just kind of lined up and in rhythm.
Leah Archibald: Well, this conversation has been not only enlightening, but very practical for all of us. For me, and I think for all of us who are kind of either facing a transition now and the future, you give us some practical tools. I would suggest folks go to your website, get the book, What To Do Next: Taking Your Best Step When Life is Uncertain. And Jeff Henderson, thank you so much for joining with us on the podcast today.
Jeff Henderson: Leah, Mark, I'm honored. Thank you. Thanks for what you all do. Thanks for having me, I'm very honored.