Discussion Board Forum 4 1 LEAD 510- Spring 2015 – Liberty University by Joyce Gerald

On the first page of the introduction to Practicing Greatness, McNeal recounts hearing Elton Trueblood say, “Deliberate mediocrity is a sin.” Which of the first three disciplines (self-awareness, self-management, or self-development) do you find most difficult to incorporate into your life at this time? Which of the three would you say you have had the most success incorporating in your life? What strategies have helped you?

Which of the first three disciplines have you had the most success incorporating in your life?

Self-awareness is the discipline that I had the most success incorporating into my life.  It is the most successful one because I had incredible mentors when I entered the School of Education at Brooklyn College as a graduate assistant.  My professors right away saw this person in me, “Sheri worked herself into exhaustion, but still didn’t let up. She took on any assignment, just so she could gain a word of approval. She even took affirmations from others’ noticing how overworked she was.” [1] They explained to me that, because of my background [the only child of the only son of a well to do family who was born out of wedlock], I was still trying to gain acceptance from my step-mother.  I immediately related to that.  I have always been an over-achiever in anything that I have attempted.  However, when reminded of this character trait, I remembered the words of my grandmother.  My grandmother told me that I was “a blessing to her.”  My grandmother called me a blessed child.  She instilled in me the value of being thankful for who I am and what I have.  But she also instilled in me the value of others and how important it is to be aware of the fact that my abilities could be threatening to others.  The other thing that she instilled in me was the capacity to be aware of pride.  She always said, “Pride comes before the fall!”  That has stuck with me my entire life. I have lived my life in education as a servant.  I believe that it is because of this willingness to serve that I moved rapidly from one level in the district all the way to the district level.

The life of Joseph and Solomon were the two cornerstone characters that I read and practically memorized to ensure that I did not fall into the same character style challenges.  I always ask myself why am I doing what I am doing before I begin a task.  I want to ensure that I am doing it because it glorifies God and not myself.[2]  Self-development is a close second.  I am always reading. I consider myself a life-long learner.  But self-awareness probably prevented me from working myself to death and making everyone around me miserable.

Which of the first three disciplines do you find most difficult to incorporate into your life at this time?


According to Reggie McNeal, “They [great leaders] know that internal self-management of their own mental, emotional, and spiritual health is the key.”[3]  It may just be that I do not feel that I study enough or pray enough.  Even though I find myself praying on and off all day long as suggested by Jerry Falwell, I find that my quiet time is still not enough.[4]  Because my ministry is a prayer, discipleship, and evangelism ministry I pray a lot, but I still feel that it is not enough.  The other area of self-management that I have a terrible time with is physical health.  McNeal declared, “Great leaders take as much care of themselves physically as they do other emotional and spiritual aspects. “[5] I have a significant health problem, namely fibromyalgia, and because I did not limit my stress level in my non-Christian profession  I ended up in the hospital.  Now I have nerve damage in both legs and both arms.  Now I am on a water aerobic therapy program.  I still need to monitor my carb intake and ensure that I do no expose myself to allergens that trigger asthma attacks.  For instance on Sunday, the stage was covered with Easter Lilies – the one flower that will send me into an asthma attack.  Instead of not standing near them I took the position on the stage that everyone takes when they sing.  I was very sick Sunday night. I knew better, but I didn’t want to stand out like a sore thumb.  I did notify the decorating committee about my allergies, but that was after the fact.  I should have mentioned it to the Pastor when he asked me to sing. I am a classic introvert who lives in a world of extroverts.

I need to make my health challenges known to ensure that I stay healthy.  I am of no use to the work of the Lord flat on by back in the hospital like I was last September.  Or incapable of driving or ministering to anyone as I was from September 2013 until September 2014 I need to take better care of myself.  I am looking for an acupuncturist to help me to handle the intense pain.  It has taken me twenty-two years to get to this point.  It took hospitalization stress that almost killed me before I started to take better care of my health. McNeal proposed, “Leaders need to understand that followers are not drawn toward leaders who do not take care of themselves. In an age of increased awareness of health issues, followers do not respect leaders who fail to practice physical self-management.”[6]  This was a hard lesson for me to learn, but a critical one.  I am still working on getting enough sleep at night, and not stressing out over my class work.


[1] Reggie McNeal, Practicing Greatness: 7 Disciplines of Extraordinary Spiritual Leaders (San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2006), Loc. 442-443, Kindle.

[2] Ibid., Loc. 566.

[3] Ibid., Loc. 716.

[4] Jerry Falwell, Building Dynamic Faith (Nashville, TN: World Publishing, 2005), Loc. 1088-89.

[5] Reggie McNeal, Practicing Greatness: Loc. 927.

[6] Ibid., Loc. 939.


Falwell, Jerry. Building Dynamic Faith. Nashville, TN: World Publishing, 2005. Kindle.

McNeal, Reggie. Practicing Greatness: 7 Disciplines of Extraordinary Spiritual Leaders. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2006. Kindle.




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